by Katja Feldmeier
There would be no pop-up stores without them. Landlords make up the base for any pop-up idea to grow on and get realized in. And this particular one is so close to our pop-up heart for his open mind, endless flexibility and amazing cooperation. Meet Ingo from Torstraße 161 - our landlord of the month.
1. Ingo, your space at Torstraße 161 is one of our favorites. What makes it so special?
This, you would have to ask the tenants, I'm not the one to say. It's probably something else for everybody anyway, since different people have different needs and expectations. The positive feedback I often get, is that people feel comfortable, relaxed and safe in this space
When I started renting the space years ago and began to renovate, I noticed myself how peaceful I felt despite the nosy big Torstraße with all the people passing by. I try to captivate and cultivate this peaceful feeling in my space. I want people to feel comfortable in it, since they are the ones investing a lot of their time, energy and faith in their projects.
2. A pop-ups is always a special event. Which pop-ups do you personally like most?
Actually, I don't have a preference, really. It's always exciting to see which concepts and ideas people bring to my store and how they go about implementing them. Some have a very specific layout they like to follow strictly, others work more intuitively. For some its a very sober business transaction, others see it as a process of growth and personal development.
3. Most Berliners and visitors are now very familiar with the Torstraße. This is fairly new. How do you view the changes of the last years?
I still know Torstraße as this no man's land. An ugly grey line nobody would voluntarily cross. Life used to take place south of Torstraße. We all know it has luckily changed completely. Now it's a bright and interesting place to be. And the remaining ugly parts I actually cherish, since they still keep the normality intact, unlike in other overly popular streets. A good mix of everyday life, commerce and curious travelers. Let's enjoy it while it lasts.
4. What are the benefits of pop-ups compared to long term rental for you?
With long term rental it's very safe and easy to plan. The pop-up can be a bit less safe. However, if it works well, it's more rewarding. Then again there are more quiet times that keep the balance. The benefit is that I can still have space for my own and my neighbors or friend's spontaneous projects. For me it's important to stay in touch with new people and ideas, the exchange and the mutual inspiration. Originally, I rented the space for my personal use as an office and studio, but it quickly turned into a bar, a gallery, a photo or a film studio and place for creative exchange. Even before pop-ups, the space was available for people to use it and test out their ideas. It's a value I would love to preserve.
5. How did you experience your collaboration with Go—PopUp?
What I like about Go-PopUp is your commitment and your vision. You are not only concerned with organizing the rentals, but you are furthering the whole pop-up concept. When I came to Berlin 20 years ago, it was this ubiquitious availability of free space that made this city so attractive. It gave room to the possibility of taking creative risks without any big financial ones. This made Berlin into the globally interesting city it is today. Unfortunately, gentrification is eating away at it. The pop-up concept works against that. Not as cheap and liberal as back in the days, but still room to try and grow without any contractual millstone around the neck. In terms of our collaboration, I feel like we are pulling together.
A big thank you to you, Ingo!