One of nightlife’s most iconic doors — the only truly iconic door in the annals of club culture, perhaps — has been moved into a German museum, preserving it for future generations of curious dancers forevermore.
It’s the rusty, graffiti-spattered entrance to Tresor, the legendary Berlin techno nightspot which opened in the early 1990s, that has found itself transplanted from the city streets into the still-under-construction Humboldt Forum, a vast museum complex set to open later this year.
No mere door, Tresor’s famed heavyweight portal is a sturdy emblem of Berlin’s post-Cold War unification and socio-cultural rebirth. Its first use was a seal for the vaults of pre-war Jewish-owned department store Wertheim. The store was bombed during Allied raids over Berlin in the Second World War but the door itself remained in alarmingly good condition.
After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many of the city’s then-abandoned spaces found themselves occupied by enterprising hedonists looking for venues to throw clandestine parties that’d give DJs and dancers alike the chance to lose themselves inside the cavernous sounds of the house and techno records that were filtering into German musical life by way of Chicago and Detroit.
One such hedonist was Dimitri Hegemann, who used the disused vaults of Wertheim as the location for Tresor — door included.
Tresor moved location in 2005, with the site being razed to make way for offices and a shopping mall, with the nightclub finding a new home in a former power station. Sadly the three and a half tonne door was far too heavy to be installed at the new site.
Evidently being a good sort — or simply a man who doesn’t know what to do with the seven foot tall door he’s got knocking about in the garden — Hegemann has now donated it to the museum, intending it to be a reminder to visitors of Berlin’s reverence for “free space and subcultures.”