Discover A Bunker Turned Club Turned Art Gallery

Tucked away in Mitte, this bunker has got a very special history, and currently is one of Berlin's most exciting places.

Located in an area that many people who live in Berlin don’t visit that often–just off Mitte’s Friedrichstadt-Palast—stands a bunker which, in Post-war Germany, could almost go unnoticed. However, look closer and you’ll notice a penthouse sits on top of the building—no less.

Once the war came to an end, the bunker was repurposed as a warehouse, first for textile, then for tropical fruit imported

Built in 1942 to provide an air-raid shelter for the civilian population, the bunker later was used for prisoners of war during its occupation by the Red Army. Once the war came to an end, it was repurposed as a warehouse, first for textile, then for tropical fruit imported all the way from Cuba—which gave the building its “banana bunker” nickname.

 

Une photo publiée par Ida Schyum (@idaschyum) le


 
After the German reunification, the bunker de facto became property of the federal government in 1990, and within two years it became home to fetish parties, which helped shape Berlin’s hedonism and its signature techno sound. Just like Berghain today, the bunker was known as the hardest club in the world.

The building hosted a massive erotic trade fair

In 1995, the building hosted a massive erotic trade fair before its banned New Year’s Eve party got shut down by the authorities. The bunker was then closed down and nothing much happened until 2003, when art collector Christian Boros purchased it and decided to turn it into a home for the artworks from his private collection.

Danh Vo artwork at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Nosche)

Danh Vo artworks at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Nosche)

Thomas Ruff artworks at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Nosche)

Thomas Ruff artworks at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Nosche)

Since 2007, the bunker has become a venue where the Boros get to showcase pieces and installations from their collection. The first official exhibition went on from 2008 and 2012, and a new selection of artworks was curated in 2012. From now on, the Boros couple is planning on showing a new exhibition every four years—a daring move in a fast-paced art scene that tends to rely heavily on trends and next big things.

The venue solely provides guided tours and spots need to be booked online in advance

A visit of the bunker, however, is something that one doesn’t get that easily. Thinking of dropping by before your flight back home? Forget it. The venue solely provides guided tours (in English or German) and spots need to be booked online well in advance. However, trust our word and don’t let that put you off as this building became our number one thing to see in Berlin immediately after our first visit.

Thomas Scheibitz artworks at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Noshe)

Thomas Scheibitz artworks at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Noshe)

Klara Lidén artwork at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Noshe)

Klara Lidén artwork at Sammlung Boros (Photo credit Noshe)

We for one thought that guided tours were absolutely not our thing and guess what? We were wrong. The staff is young, stylish and, most importantly, extremely interesting and pleasant to listen to. It’s impossible to get bored during the 1.5h tour and each and every artwork presented will make you want to stare at it for hours. Moreover, a regular tour doesn’t cover each of the 130 works currently exhibited, so you could even go several times and still not get tired.

Visiting the bunker is a treat for all senses

The current exhibition features works by contemporary art superstars such as Ai Weiwei, Wolfgang Tillmans or Olafur Eliasson as well as iconic installations like Michael Sailstorfer’s popcorn machine or Tomás Saraceno’s giant spider web. Visiting the bunker is a treat for all senses and finding out about the history of the place is just as fascinating as interacting with the artworks. The place obviously oozes history, and seeing its thick concrete walls clash deliciously with the cutting-edge works that are being exhibited is an incredible feeling.

 


 
Thanks to the building’s and the installations’ massive proportions, entering the bunker for a guided tour is sure to release your inner child. Blindly following the tour guide, interacting with massive drawings and tiny doors all while being surrounded by the smell of fresh popcorn, the bunker will make you feel like you’ve just set foot in an amusement park made just for adults.

Try to snatch a spot before the end of the year—you won’t be disappointed.

Sammlung Boros, Reinhardtstraße 20, 10117, Berlin

Sammlung Boros

Reinhardtstraße 20, 10117, Berlin, Allemagne

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Camille Darroux is a Paris-born, Berlin-based digital consultant, writer, and DJ. You're most likely to find her having pizza & wine or at the club.
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