Berlin's Letter Museum celebrates 15 years of typographic legacy with a brand new mural
In Berlin, the Letter Museum aka Buchstabenmuseum is almost an insider tip, but there has been so much international news that guests come from all over the world to see the typographic cabinet of curiosities. Launched 15 years ago the Letters Museum has a single task, to preserve the letterforms from oblivion.
“Built letters disappear from the cityscape. Globalisation and standardisation are displacing regional, traditional businesses, retail shops and handcrafted lettering. Individual and high-quality shop inscriptions disappear from our view and from that of our customers. Consciousness – if we don’t preserve it. This task is taken over by the Buchstabenmuseum” writes the museum that collects, preserves and documents the signs of past for the generations of the future.
“We create a place of remembrance, but also of impulses for current discussions. We offer starting points for dealing with trade, advertising and urban history, with language and words, typography, design and craftsmanship” says the creators of this institute of typographic knowledge that documents the history of every sign, every logo and every letter.
Who worked on it, how was the respective piece designed and produced? The answers to these questions provide surprising and interesting insights for the design aficionados and the lovers of type alike.
Yet, Buchstabenmuseum is by no means an institution that celebrates only the past. The museum holds discussions on crafts and typography and inspires new artists to provide their own type-infused works.
The basis for the huge collection of the Buchstabenmuseum was the private collection of Barbara Dechant, designer from Vienna. She and her like-minded colleagues were able to save hundreds of letters from scrapping, disappearing, being used as decorative objects and recover them in the Letter Museum.
15 years after it was founded the collection contains over 2,000 objects. In Buchstabenmuseum’scurrent exhibition the visitor finds testimonials of famous Berlin companies and places from the underground station Hansaplatz, Eternit through the furniture store Kern as letters, history and urban culture compose a story of typographic beauty made in Germany.
To celebrate its 15th anniversary Chris Campe (Hamburg) and Merle Michaelis (Kiel) provided a mural of excellence. The artists painted the word »Berlin« on the floor, wall and vaulted ceiling in the S-Bahn arches of the museum with the letters dissolving “into an abstract black and white stripe pattern and can only be recognized as writing at a second glance.”