02. December 2014

Setting the stage

There is an endless coming and going of set designers in Adlershof

One of the biggest in Germany: The costume stock in Adlershof
Scenic artist Mario Schünemann makes objects travel in time
Oscar Wilde once said: ”The stage is the return of art to life.” However, the ”stage” would often fall short without specialists such as the set designers of the companies drei d medien service and Set-Time Bühnentechnik, scenic artists like Mario Schünemann, or the people at the costume stock in Adlershof. Two golden deer have curled up in the meeting room of the company drei d. “Real-life bambis.“ The first, a model for a replica that is three-and-a-half metres high, the second was bought in an auction. For more than 15 years the stage designers of drei d medien service have been creating the annual set for the Bambi Awards. They also build the stage for the TV shows “The Voice of Germany“ and “The Voice Kids“ which are produced in nearby studios. Highlight of the set is the colossal key visual of “The Voice“ – the hand holding a microphone. The company works for almost every TV channel and for renowned production companies like Endemol or Constantin. They supply productions with lighting, sound and recording technology, or with the right set. The studio of political talkshow host, Anne Will, also depends on their neighbourly help. The painters, carpenters, metal workers, and decorators of Set-Time provide set construction, decorations, and props to outdoor and studio productions, not only for the aforementioned political talkshow in Studio H, but also for the music show rbb-Sommergarten (Summer Garden), the TV election debates, and the show of Berlin-born comedian Kurt Krömer. To change or accelerate the perception of time for the already fast-paced movie and TV business is the special gift of the Adlershof-based scenic artist Mario Schünemann. He calls that: “To make objects travel in time.“ Good intuition regarding relations and proportions is an important skill of the trade. And knowing many tricks. Frost patterns on windows are made with epsomite and beer. To artificially age textiles, he uses tea or what he calls “Mumpe“, a special mix of almost everything – and more beer! As an apprentice for GDR television, Schünemann did some paint jobs for the late night show “Ein Kessel Buntes“ or the German crime series “Polizeiruf“. Today, he paints for the children's programme “Bernd das Brot“ and large evening events such as the “Golden Lion“ or the German Film Awards. When you walk into the 4,000 sqm underworld beneath the production site of the Media City, you find a maze of hallways and shelves that reach the ceiling, jampacked with props, costumes, decorations. Treasures such as his-toric books and posters can also be spotted there as well as countless objects for movie, TV and theatre productions, or festivals. There is an endless coming and going of set designers. The results of their work can be marvelled at in films like “Sonnenallee“, “Die Flucht“ (The Escape), or “The Lives of Others“. Before reunification, the costume stock equipped the DEFA and GDR television. Today, the stock in Berlin is of the largest in Germany and the most important one worldwide for props from the GDR. The most popular treasure of the costume stock: Daniel Brühl's fictional living room from the movie “Goodbye Lenin“, completely refurbished. Except for the wallpaper, everything in that room, every book, every cup, even the calendar of the GDR youth organisation, is from the stock in Adlershof. By Franziska Hönow for Adlershof Special