Berliners love to recycle. We love a factory turned club or just getting that Pfandbon from all the bottles last weekend. Well, this summer Berlin is recycling another event space teeming with memories of past parties. Built over 200 years ago and once called the ‘Sanssouci of the East’, the ZENNER house was one of the must-see places for revelers in the 1800s. The Villa has hosted celebrations such as the Stralauer Fischung and the Loveparade, one of the craziest festivals in town, which was banned in 1873. ZENNER is due to open a 1,500-seat Biergarten on the banks of the Spree at Treptower Park in May under the leadership of Sebastian Heil and Tony Ettelt , former operators of two already renowned Berlin theaters: Salon Zur Wilde Renate and Else.
This outdoor café will be just one of four different spaces planned for the project. By 2022, Ettelt and Heil also plan to open the ZENNER Saal, a dance hall with 800 standing and 350 seats. This building is the heart of the complex and is currently being transformed into a venue for concerts, raves and other events. The room is being renovated with the help of the authorities in charge of the preservation of historical monuments to ensure that the ZENNER honors the history of space. The ZENNER Saal also has an outdoor terrace with a beautiful view of the Spree which spans the entire width of the room. I am really looking forward to seeing the sunrise there.
The ZENNER Turmhaus (tower house) is also set to open in 2022 and will feature an ice cream parlor selling organic frozen treats. The last phase of the project is scheduled for 2024; ZENNER Körnervilla has been the site of celebrations of centuries past that will continue to carry on their own legacy and will be rekindled as a cultural space for more stories to tell. The villa is to be reused for events such as round tables, weddings and art exhibitions.
The ZENNER Saal and the beer garden have been in use over the years, but the other smaller buildings have been empty for over a century. In 2019, the former owners of the beer garden went bankrupt and the Bezirk began to seek new clients for the historic complex. The contract was ultimately awarded to Heil and Ettelt allowing them to realize their vision of a cultural space that honors Berlin’s rich history.
“We want to revive this historic meeting place,” Ettelt explains. “We want to combine culture and gastronomy and create an inspiring and diversified offer accessible to all.” Berliner Bürgerbräu beer, Berlin’s oldest brewery until it closed in 2010, was even relaunched for the project and will be the house beer sold on site. ZENNER literally brings the party cultures of the past back to life.
“We also want to contribute to the development of a modern and sustainable Berlin beer garden culture with the ZENNER open-air garden,” Heil adds. Sustainability and inclusiveness are central pillars of the ZENNER philosophy; Stephan Matschke, artistic director of the project indicates that the place should be a site for international artists with a priority for female, queer and non-binary artists. “We want to create a place where borders dissolve in a unique setting that makes culture tangible and available to all.”
With the first installment of the new ZENNER opening in May, we can expect to spend a number of summer nights relaxing by the Spree, enjoying electronic melodies instead of classical symphonies. We’ll see each other there!
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