Berlin’s newest shopping center, the Schultheiss Quartier, wanted their first Christmas of trading to give shoppers a warm welcome and many reasons for return visits in the future. MK Illumination crafted a Christmas lighting and decorative concept that complemented the blend of original features from the listed former brewery as well as the brand new, contemporary architectural elements inside and out.
Berlin is going from strength to strength, and the opening of its 68th shopping center, Schultheiss Quartier in the district of Moabit is proof of that. Schultheiss Quartier is a remarkable shopping center project that combines old and new, thanks to the incorporation of the old Schultheissbrauerei (Schultheiss Brewery) into its design.
“In Germany, it used to be the case that every locality had its own brewery and in Moabit, that was the Schultheissbrauerei. The brewery built its first structure in 1841, and the last beer was brewed in 1987. The old brewery became a listed building in 1995, so when HGHI Holding GmbH decided to develop the brewery and surrounding land into a shopping center, they needed to incorporate the brewery into their design in a sensitive way,” explains John P. Henniger, Key Account Manager at MK Illumination in Germany.
The resulting design by Berlin architects “Pechtold Architekten”, “Rautenbach Gesellschaft von Architekten”, and “Max Dudler” used the yellow and red brick listed buildings that were in place by 1926 as a core that was intended to unite the diverse facets of urban life, with the listed building’s courtyard being used to create a network of streets, alleys, squares and passages for visitors to enjoy.
The new center was unveiled in August 2018, and to celebrate their first Christmas, the center’s management team decided to fill their space with light and decoration that would remind shoppers of the site’s heritage whilst celebrating the much-awaited modern shopping and leisure experience that Schultheiss Quartier represents. MK Illumination was thrilled to win the tender for the work.
A blank canvas – and a few challenges
“In order to come up with the initial proposal, our design team had to really use their imaginations because we started working on ideas before the center was completed. In many ways, this was a gift: we were working on a blank canvas!” said Carolin Wolters, a Concept Designer at MK Illumination. “The center’s interior had an earthy, natural feel, and we wanted to build on that with lots of greenery, light points, and over-sized decorative motifs that used organic materials.”
Rich reds, warm whites and luscious greens filled the center, with Christmas trees and garlands making a statement on the floor space as well as overhead. Festive 3D sculptures of gifts in red and gold were crafted from recyclable materials from MK Illumination’s organic range, too, putting a smile on shoppers’ faces from every floor of the center.
Installing the lighting and décor wasn’t quite as simple as one might think, however.
“The center is partly brand new and partly a listed building, which meant that we needed to seek advice and permission from the agency responsible for protecting heritage sites to make sure that we didn’t violate any rules and regulations, or damage the structure. Fortunately, we’ve worked on many historical landmarks and structures, which meant that we were able to come up with appropriate solutions in a relatively short timeframe,” said Christian Dotzauer, MK Illumination’s Head of Sales for the Retail Real Estate sector in Germany.
Light in all the right places
Schultheiss Quartier didn’t simply rely on its attractive space and shopping opportunities to attract visitors: in additional to offering seasonal activities, they hosted a Christmas market in one of their heritage spaces, which was filled with a festive atmosphere thanks to the combination of a giant, illuminated Christmas tree, the canopy of sparkling overhead lights, and the traditional booths.
The center also made the most of the center’s unique architectural elements.
Schultheiss Quartier is in a prominent position in the Moabit district, occupying a corner on the busy Strom and Turm Streets. With that in mind, the center was also eager to use festive lighting to emphasize its façade, and strings of warm-white light outlined the contours of the center’s structures, framed shop windows, and highlighted pillars. The result was that the center became an instantly recognizable, high-visibility winter landmark that spread festive cheer to passersby as well as shoppers – great for the district and the center’s brand.
And did the lighting and décor help to attract visitors over the season?
Without a doubt. The family-friendly atmosphere in Moabit’s first shopping center certainly made it an appealing destination that encouraged residents to shop locally instead of heading out to one of Berlin’s many other shopping spaces, whilst supporting the center’s hope that more people would “rediscover Moabit”.
Dotzauer agrees. “This was a project that required precision in planning to make sure that deadlines were met, historical features were preserved, and to create a festive experience that delighted visitors. I’m pleased to say that thanks to an excellent working relationship with the center, we were able to create something that we’re all proud of. Visitors loved the experience of Schultheiss Quartier over Christamas, and they rewarded us with positive feedback, bright eyes, and social media engagement, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the center’s festive flair attracts and delights visitors in years to come.”