Jan Edler

In 2000, Jan Edler and his brother Tim founded realities:united as a studio for art and architecture. They have gained international recognition for initiating and realizing art and hybrid art installations at architectural and urban scales across the globe.

Werner Aisslinger is an acclaimed industrial designer working and living in Berlin, Germany. With the latest technologies and the newest materials, Werner provides new impulses in the product design world.


“Every building should have a connection to its environment or it's a misplacement.”

One of the projects you are known for is the Flussbad, a proposal to create a public bathing area on the River Spree in the heart of Berlin. Here, you are working on an urban scale. Was this project also driven by the desire to establish communication, in this case between different aspects of the city?

Yes and no. I think the Flussbad project is driven to a certain extent by the idea to connect the city with an unused arm of River Spree. We are talking about an urban void of 1.8 kilometers in length in the very heart of the historic center of Berlin. The intention of the project is to revive and enrich that area, to make it accessible for the Berliners. Using the river for swimming has a long, yet forgotten, tradition. In that way, the Flussbad project re-establishes an old connection in a modern manner.

How does the Flussbad project affect the people living in the area, are there any factors to consider?

Countless factors. On one side, we have the project aim to improve life, to make life in the city center more enjoyable. Bringing different people into the city center is another consideration. Right now, we have a lot of administrative offices in the center, institutions and museums. We actually want to bring Berliners back to the city center and mix them with the tourists, to keep the city center vibrant and delightful for the future. Museums often don't include authentic life anymore. Flussbad is trying to become a catalyst to improve urban life. To make our project tangible, we have to make people understand it. We think about how to re-use the river, which now mainly serves for tourist transportation. And heritage protection people are worried that Flussbad might damage the aura of the museums. There are so many aspects to consider.

You talk about stakeholders in the Flussbad project, how to do convince them?

I don’t think we have convinced all of them. Not yet. We convince other people, and we are very reasonable. So we don’t push things that are stupid. Not everyone needs to like it, but we try to build bridges from all sides. That’s the strategy to get things done. We will see if we'll be successful.

Is it not a bit ironic that there you are working very closely with the public and incorporating them into the process, whilst at the same time another big project — one which does not enjoy a lot of support from ordinary Berliners — is happening just a short distance away: the reconstruction of the Stadtschloss (City Palace)? How do you see the relationship between these two projects?

The Stadtschloss, or the Humboldt Forum, as one must call it now, is trying to facilitate what they call an intercultural dialogue. Which, of course, is mostly directed towards the past. But how can we re-orient our thinking processes towards the future? The Flussbad project has the potential to be a catalyst for connecting the Humboldt Forum with the city of Berlin: to prolong an intercultural dialogue with everyday culture by implementing a function in the city center that also appeals to people that perhaps wouldn’t usually visit the Museum Island. With Flussbad, the unused Spree Canal becomes a true connecting lifeline in the city again.

COVID-19 has affected the creative industry worldwide, yet Berlin creatives have come up with new ways present their craft and to interact. Berlin has always been known for its resourcefulness, and creatives have applied this ingenuity here, innovating in the digital social scene by using existing tools in new ways to create new experiences.

Below are some unique ways Berlin creatives are tackling the issues brought by the virus:

The Collective Action Nightlife Emergency Fun

Locals have come together to collect emergency funding for at-risk nightlife workers in Berlin. The shutting down of nightclubs means these people are out of jobs, and this emergency funding helps mitigate the economic damage that COVID-19 is creating.


Questions for you:

What changes once we make these social spaces digital?

Will the digital event become a more normalized way to socialize?

Are people more open to attending these digital events?

Special Thanks to
Jan Edler

Editor: Michelle Wu
Interviewer: Char
Camera: Xun Liu

Additional Images: