This Berlin Workspace Brings the Museum Experience to Life
Photography by Jayson Fong
A short distance from the heart of Berlin–a city known internationally for its dedication to the arts–lies one of the city’s most well kept secrets.
Although not far from the city centre and its major tourist hotspots, it would be easy to find yourself checking your maps to make sure you were in the right place when you arrive in Moabit. And even then, when you finally got inside, you could be forgiven for thinking you weren’t allowed to be there in the first place. Tucked behind closed doors here in what was once an old Wilhelmine tram depot you will find what can only be described as a stunning collection of classic cars and workshops in an incredible space known as The Classic Remise Berlin, or “classic coach house”.
Built in the times of imperial Germany in 1899, this building saw duty as a tram depot until the 1960s when it fell into disuse. Nearly thirty five years later, in 2002, construction began to give the building a new life as a centre for vintage cars. Today, it is home to a large collection vehicles and specialist workshops, vintage car dealers and showrooms, all catering to every need of the classic car enthusiast and owner.
What makes the Classic Remise so memorable, however, is its central hall. Here, 88 special glass cases are arranged like life-size Corgi boxes in a shop and are home to 88 special cars. Air-tight and climate-controlled, these glass cases are the perfect way to preserve history.
Some notable examples of the beauties enclosed inside these lifesize Corgi boxes include a Bugatti’s EB110, a classic lime green Lancia Stratos, a Lamborghini Countach, a unique Bentley Peterson Dartmoor Coupe, and a Brennabor Torpedo from 1910. Reflecting the diversity on display, a Ferrari Enzo even stood in as a modern counterpart to these vintage gems.
In reality, the Classic Remise could be seen as a museum that adds another ‘living’ dimension to the standard museum experience. The open front workshops that flank the hall give visitors a unique glimpse into the art of restoration. This open approach departs from the secrecy that shrouds the underground archive chambers of other museums. Here you can even smell the workshops and, on occasion, hear the echoes of vintage motors roaring to life.
The Classic Car Remise is one of Berlin’s true hidden gems that allows you to step into a different world of art. It is a museum and gallery that reflects history and society equally as well as the paintings and sculptures housed in the grand galleries a few miles away. And despite its size, the hallways of the Remise are generally quiet, playing host to only a handful of visitors on any given day, making it the ideal escape from the usual throngs of tourists that throng most of Berlin’s museums. What’s more, there is no entry fee and you’re free to wander at your own pace.
Not many museums give visitors the experience of the sight, smell, and sound of history, but rest assured you will get it all at the Remise.