Factory floored - Issue 128 - Magazine | Monocle

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Established: 2005 (in Frankfurt)
Location: Rummelsburg, Berlin
Staff: Fluctuates between 50 and 80

Fanciful flying machines and cities in the clouds seem like the stuff of dreams but they are the everyday at Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno’s studio. Based in a century-old multistorey factory complex in Berlin’s Rummelsburg neighbourhood, the studio has bustled with production, research and experimentation since Saraceno arrived in 2013. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity here,” he says, walking us through the spaces where he and his team work.

And what work, not least blown-glass sculptures building on the artist’s “cloud cities” (a recurring theme in his exhibitions) and the in-house Aerocene Foundation, which Saraceno established to explore the idea of air-flight without fossil fuels. It has developed triangular balloons that rise with heat generated by the sun, travel on the wind and land with air currents. 

Coming from backgrounds as varied as biology, philosophy, architecture and engineering, the staff’s ideas (and nationalities) vary as much as the work they create. Team members (who speak mostly English, Italian and Spanish over German) prepare for exhibitions, deal with logistics, produce objects to show, observe the enigmatic behaviour of spiders (and even archive their three-dimensional webs), work on print publications and develop apps. As the studio grows “the roles are shifting”, says Saraceno. “It’s evolving into an even more beautiful atmosphere.”

Tomás Saraceno

Artist, Studio Tomás Saraceno

Born in Argentina in 1973, Tomás Saraceno studied architecture in his home country, then architecture and art in Frankfurt and Venice, before settling in Berlin in 2012. Studio Tomás Saraceno’s in-house team fluctuates between 50 and 80 people, with outside collaborators coming from organisations such as mit and the Max Planck Institute. The result is a place that is many things in one: workshop, research centre, think-tank, lab, production floor and, of course, artist’s studio.

The caninet 

Fabiola Bierhoff
Gallery and sales liaison, small-scale production co-ordinator.
“It’s inspiring to work with someone who is showing you the world in new ways,” says Bierhoff.

Zaida Violan Personal assistant.

Alice Lamperti Aerocene research co-ordinator.
“Aerocene connects disciplines and every day is a discovery,” says Lamperti.

Philipp Weber New works development.

Erik Vogler Aerocene production leader.
“Working here means you have to find and embody your role,” says Vogler.

Sonia d’AgrainManagement assistant (legal), project manager.

Manuela Mazure Azcona Production co-ordinator.

Ally Bisshop Arachnophilia reseacher.

Jillian Meyer Registrar.

Claudia Meléndez Rivera Head of design.
“The studio has grown but we’ve also created other communities. It’s inspirational to be here. It’s more a conversation,” says Melendez.

Marina Höxter New media project co-ordinator

Lars Behrendt Studio manager.

Ilka Tödt Sustainability co-0rdinator.

Connie Chester Head of research and communication.
“It’s like a family; we work within the universe of Tomás Saraceno,” says Chester.

James Sundermann Storage and facility manager.

Viola Cafuli Production team leader.

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