Nestled atop a former Jewish Girls’ School in Mitte, the Rooftop Playground brings high-art to Berlin’s skyline in a colourful, playful interactive exhibition. Recently opened by Michael Fuchs Gallery, the rooftop spielplatz (playground) presents a flurry of oversized sculptures and installations that also serves as a playground for children, and a unique hang-out spot for in-the-know Berliners.
In 2011, entrepreneurial gallery owner Michael Fuchs secured a 30-year lease for the long-abandoned former Jewish girls’ school located in Mitte. Together with his art consultant wife, Constance Breton, they transformed the building into a central hub for art, gastronomy and culture. Breton as a soon-to-be mother of two, dreamt up the idea to place the Rooftop Playground atop the converted school. After noticing that there were few places for children to interact with art from an early age, Fusch and Breton commissioned ten artists to create oversized, interactive pieces for their unique playground.
The final product is a portal into a fantasy world, created for children, that can still be enjoyed by adults. The works themselves are a bold mix of playful structures, that double as playground-style fun. Mexican artist, Gabriel Rico created a quirky, über-German sausage swing and a large bone-shaped slide. Children’s book author and artist Tomi Ungerer produced a large zebra-striped Trojan horse, while Leiko Ikemura’s statuesque rabbit-teepee and Olivia Berckemeyer’s Mickey Mouse can be hidden beneath, climbed and become animated at night.
The Rooftop Playground is the latest edition and crowning glory to the already trendy Mädchenschule, House of Art and Dining Culture. When Fuch secured the lease in 2011, the building was restored to its former glory, after decades of standing empty. It has since become the home for several galleries including the Michael Fuchs Galerie, Eigen+Art Lab and CWC Gallery. These have been joined by exclusive culinary projects: Pauly Saal Restaurant and Bar – serving up Berlin’s roaring 20s and Mogg – bringing classic New York style food culture to Berlin. It has long been a destination for adults, looking to explore contemporary art and outstanding food in the city, but now the House of Art and Dining Culture is also a haven for children, with high-art, and an available to visit by appointment only, playground.
Taking away the stand-offish and often exclusive reputation of the art world, the sky-high shiny spielplatz is a surreal, colourful blend of high-end art and practical fun, sure to bring out the inner child in us all.