14 December 2006

The Christmas Market, Potsdamer Platz


Blurbanism ∕ Public Space

The Christmas season is well and truely upon up, with just a week and a bit left until the holiday begins. Whereas Crap Supermarket, Plus, has been stacking its shelves with cut-price Christstollen since the third week of August, the traditional Christmas markets have been flogging their wares for a wimpy four weeks or so.

The Christmas Market on Potsdamer Platz is best visited just before dusk, when approx. 5000 crows decend upon the trees lining Alte Potsdamer Straße and proceed to shit upon the quaint little festive wooden huts below, coating everything in a joyous blanket of rich white guano. Not a bad service considering the price of fake snow these days.

Not snow; crow shit

All the traditional German Christmas Market comestibles are up for sale: Glühwein (mulled wine) with a two Euro deposit on ceramic mugs, Bratwurst (sausage), Germknödel (yeast dumpling with plum filling) and pink Zuckerwatte (candy floss). One large sausage stand even has a ketchup and mustard-vending outhouse to reduce crowd chaos, an invention worthy of an architecture prize or two.

Just your regular old 80 x 220 cm mustard-vending outhouse

Other notable manifestations include: the peculiar contrast of olde-worldy, fake wooden huts complete with flat-pack cart wheels (1) and the expensive-looking, space-age glass tubes reflecting daylight into the bowels of Potsdamer Platz (2) being tattily reappropriated as poster holders (4); and the wonderful jamming-in of quaint little festive wooden huts underneath the star-destroyer-style wedge protruding out of Renzo Piano’s thrusting Quartier DaimlerChrysler (3).



Around the corner you can launch yourself and four friends down a fake snow covered 20 meter long ramp for five Euros, and enjoy six whole seconds of pure exhilaration.