June 11, 2012

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Readers be warned: the much decried BMW Guggenheim Lab has finally found a home in Berlin and is set to open its doors on June 15 in Pfefferberg. Whether the car-sponsored container-shaped “urban lab” shipped over from its first location in New York deserved such a shitstorm from ‘alternative’ Kreuzbergers – anarchosnobs a bit too eager to keep up appearances by idolising the rebellious Berlin of their lost youth – is arguable.

One thing is for sure: Prenzlauer Bergers are less touchy – there, gentrification was yesteryear’s debate. And frankly, these days the G-word is a moot point at Pfefferberg: the former brewery turned biergarten-cultural complex has already undergone a serious makeover since its squat and trash 1990s heyday. Ironically, one of the Lab’s main issues is ‘gentrification’.

“We don’t think we’ll be able to solve the problem of gentrification – we’re not that naïve – but with a hot problem like that, the first step is to start talking about it. It starts being on people’s minds and then some action might happen. Our role is mainly to start the conversation,” says Guggenheim curator and Lab head Maria Nicanor.

Some might be thrown by the whole concept of the Lab – isn’t Guggenheim a museum? Yes, a museum that has an interest in art and architecture and in finding new models for exploring their place in a city. The lab will host lectures, workshops and social activities, like a DIY lesson on “empowerment technologies”, which gives instruction on the “hacking” of urban spaces.

By the end of July the whole thing will be migrating to Mumbai for a presumably less adventurous relocation.

Jun 15 – Jul 29 | BMW Guggenheim Lab, Pfefferberg Hof 3, Schönhauser Allee 176, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz, more info at


June 11, 2012

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