Design Panoptikum is a museum like no other. This surreal collection of industrial objects aims to tantilise its visitors and invoke feelings of pure bemusement in anyone with the stomach to enter. Strikingly, this most unusual museum is nestled in the unlikely location of a quaint courtyard a stone’s throw away from St. Nicholas Church. In fact, visitors would not be blamed for walking right past it, if it wasn’t for the plastic torso in one of its windows.
No better described than an odd-ball performance, prepare for a stellar introduction from your host and ‘collector of objects’ Vlad Koornev. Upon entering, Vlad will treat each visitor will an electric description of his weird and wonderful array of discarded and scrap objects. In fact, this man, with his paper-pale complexion and Russian accent, is half of the peculiarity to be witnessed. Coupled with his unhinged ensemble of bizarre items, expect the unexpected.
Vlad focuses your attention on the uniqueness of his museum, “A regular museum is 100% about the museum,” he says. “this one is 50% about the museum and 50% about the visitor”, as he emphasises the importance of personal interpretation and creativity. After his preface, it would be understandable to hesitate and question what – exactly – is waiting for you “in the basement”.
All of Vlad’s objects are carefully selected, with as much thought going into their arrangement as the items themselves. Trumpets pierce through the skulls of manikins, plastic infants float in jars, Nazi memorabilia lurk in corners; your periphery loaded with a new, strange assortment. With the mix of masks and subhuman creations, one wonders, who is the observer in this museum?
This is a totally unique experience to be felt in Berlin, as visitors will be left pondering at the blurred lines between fantasy and reality. Design Panoptikum will be the perfect kick-start for your imagination to take on the eccentricities of life in this city. A live-action Black Mirror, this museum, and the strange inhabitants, are all designed to get ‘under your skin’. Nothing could shock you after this.
This article is taken from our January 2020 magazine, and is written by Hannah Baldwin @hannahmabaldwin
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