Berlin 101 on the 100 – a route of things to see and do outside the conference

Two more days until TYPO 2017 kicks off and hopefully Vorfreude has already kicked in. With Wanderlust as the theme, take a quick trip to the venue – on Berlin’s 100 bus, with a bit of sightseeing, art and design at every stop.

By Tilmann Hielscher

With the packed schedule of the conference you might not find much time to wander, but here are a few sights en route to the conference at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The bus 100 links the two city centers of former East and West Berlin, with the TYPO conference smack in the center. By the way, if you like the bright yellow color of the Berlin busses, you have TYPO speaker Erik Spiekermann to thank for that.


S+U Zoologischer Garten

We’ll start our trip in the west at Zoologischer Garten. Besides the zoo, this stop holds something for those keen on photography: you’ll find the C/O Berlin, as well as the Museum für Fotografie right next to the station. The C/O is currently hosting an exhibition with the works of photographer, painter and filmmaker William Klein.



Hop off here for some shopping at Bikini Berlin, a concept shopping mall, with curated stores for nice things instead of the same old stores you find everywhere. If you’re not up for shopping, have a drink on the terrace, with a view of one of the zoo’s monkey enclosures.
Next door is the zoo’s aquarium, featuring fish, reptiles and insects. Insects will be the theme of Zofia Oslislo’s talk, by the way (not literally though).


Bayreuther Straße

Go check out The Haus before it closes on May 31st! Over 100 street and graffiti artists turned this building scheduled for demolition into a giant temporary gallery for urban art.

The Haus

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher



Not much to see here, but in passing you may shake your head at the typeface selection on the signs at DIN-Platz.

DIN Platz

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher



Right next to the Lützowplatz is the Bauhaus Archiv. As the name would suggest, their collection includes plenty of Bauhaus exhibits. Perhaps you’ll manage to go have a look at Herbert Bayer’s Universalalphabet, before Gerd Fleischmann answers the question What on Earth is Bauhaus Typography.
The museum is currently also hosting the exhibition Thingness on the work of British designer Jasper Morrison.


Nordische Botschaften/Adenauer-Stiftung

Next stop, next design exhibition: Much More Than One Good Chair on Danish design at the nordic embassies.

Nord. Botschaften

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher


Großer Stern

In the center of the Großer Stern is the victory column. Great view from the top, at the feet of golden Victoria. Her namesake Viktoriya Grabowska will be speaking at TYPO on Thursday.

Großer Stern

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher


Schloss Bellevue

Bellevue is where the German President resides. Almost there, have a quick glance at the fancy lettering on the pediment and dive into Tiergarten towards …


Photo: Tilmann Hielscher


Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Home of TYPO Berlin! Welcome. But wait, that was only half the route. Those coming from the east have to start at …


S+U Alexanderplatz

The main tourist attraction on the Alex is probably the Fernsehturm. But did you know that the office buildings Berolina- and Alexanderhaus on it were designed by pioneer of modernism Peter Behrens? Behrens was an architect, industrial, graphic, as well as type designer, probably most known for his work for electric company AEG.


Photo: Tilmann Hielscher


Spandauer Straße/Marienkirche

Last year’s TYPO Night venue was here, this year it’s moved further east to the Haubentaucher. But you can socialize (pun intended) with the statues of Marx and Engels here. They were recently revamped by artists Various and Gould for their project Cityskins.



Lots to see Unter den Linden. Right across the Lustgarten is the Altes Museum – part of the Museumsinsel, on which you’ll also find the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Bode-Museum. You could spend days in those.
From the bus you used to be able to see some type-based art: All art has been contemporary read the neon installation from Maurizio Nannucci on Altes Museum.


Altes Museum | CC BY 2.0, Jorge Láscar



Again, much to see here: the Humboldt University, the Staatsoper, Prussian King Frederick II on a horse.
Let’s look at something easily missed: an installation by Israeli artist Micha Ullman. A small underground space holding empty bookshelves reminds of the violence of the nazi regime and their burning books on the 10th of May 1933 at this location.

Denkmal der Bücherverbrennung
flickr/Charlotte Nordahl CC BY-SA 2.0


Unter den Linden/Friedrichstraße

If, like most designers, you cherish books and for some (unlikely) reason the Bücherbogen book booth at TYPO doesn’t cover your needs during the day, Kulturkaufhaus Dussmann, a department store for books, music and film on Friedrichstraße is open until 12 at night (except on Sundays).

Dussmann © Tilmann Hielscher, Monotype

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher


S+U Brandenburger Tor

Change here for the S1 S-Bahn line. The Berlin Typography blog has recently collected some of the most interesting letters on this line and their twitter account with beautiful examples of signage and letters throughout Berlin is also worth following.

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher



One of the German houses of parliament is housed in the Reichstag. The glass dome was added by architect Norman Foster. The inscription “Dem Deutschen Volke” is older – designed by Anna Simons and aforementioned Peter Behrens, the letters are hybrid of blackletter and roman capitals. Simons was a calligrapher and teacher, who learned her craft from Edward Johnston – those two are not around anymore, but workshops with Chris Campe  and Andreas Frohloff are just as good.

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher


Platz der Republik

And again, we’re almost there. You can wave to Chancellor Angela Merkel in her office at the Kanzleramt from here, if she’s in.


Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Back again! Have a great conference. Important sidenote: Berlin has a busy weekend ahead, with two other major events (besides TYPO) and bus 100 might not always be in regular service.

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher

Photo: Tilmann Hielscher