Review: Stattbad Wedding Opening Party

Last weekend, Stattbad Wedding proved that a winter club-opening in Berlin can be every bit as dramatic as a summer club-opening in Ibiza.

Stattbad is definitely a special venue for special nights. A 100 year-old city bath, it has been in temporary usage since 2009, when it was bought by the Quantum Real Estate and Project Development Company.

While it languishes in Quantum's pre-development purgatory, an artistic group called RIOTarts have been using the building as an arts and music venue.

As the building's fate will ultimately be decided by somebody other than themselves, RIOTarts have made a virtue of the pool's existing features instead of adding new ones. The result is a typical fusion of the industrial and the artistic, where a temporary and improvized structure has been elevated to new heights by the creative minds occupying it. At Stattbad's various exhibitions and parties, the pool's hygienic white background has served as a minimal canvas for creative experimentation.

When I arrived at Stattbad for its opening party last Saturday though, I discovered that the pool itself was just the tip of the condensation-slicked iceberg. Its angled floor eased punters down the slippery slope to debauchery, leading them deeper into the maintenance rooms beneath the pool, where the larger - and headier - part of the club was located.

At the bottom of a long flight of stairs, several corridors encircled by water pipes led off in different directions. Some led to dead ends and hidden alcoves, while others to bigger and better dance floors.

As I spilled out into one of these along with an endless stream of newcomers, Florian Meindl was playing. His echoing, metallic-edged tech-house was enhanced by the cold, hard surroundings.

It was hard to tell what floor was supposed to be which. All three were brimming with people and all three featured DJs who were banging out various shades of techno and drum n bass, all of which was very danceable. Highlights of the musical line-up were the aforementioned Florian Meindl as well as Studio 80's Flowing and Sweden's Am Track, if I remember correctly.

The venue was every bit as elusive in real life as it looked in the pictures: full of hidden corners and shifting perspectives. Lights were refracted off of tiles; projections were distorted by the ever-present pipes and water cisterns. Nothing was revealed in its entirety. It seemed an apt visual metaphor for places like Stattbad Wedding, which seem reluctant to expose their greatness lest the investors swoop in and sell it away.


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