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Trumpet nose at DesignPanoptikum Berlin
DesignPanoptikum Berlin © Design Panoptikum, Foto: Vlad Korneev

DesignPanopticon – Museum for bizarre objects

Museum of bizarre objects

All kinds of oddities await you at the DesignPanopticon – Museum for bizarre objects on Torstrasse in Berlin-Mitte. Here you can find unusual objects spread out before you. Among the more than 3,000 strange-looking industrial objects are dentist chairs, prosthesis, lamps and shop window mannequins. The arrangements of the artefacts provide for creative interpretations. This museum is intended to astonish visitors, making you constantly ask “What in the world is that?”

A surreal walk through 100 years of industrial design

For decades, Vlad Korneev of Moscow collects old medical devices, unusual industrial objects and everyday things. He finds most of these at local flea markets or in the city's cellars, and saves them for posterity. Today, they are exhibited in his DesignPantotikum. The museum is located in a DDR-Plattenbau building. Behind its grey façade, the strange objects make for a colourful and confusing collection. But the exhibition is not as arbitrary as it seems at first glance. The creative concept is well thought out. Having said this, there is no such thing as a description for these objects: Korneev wants visitors to go on a voyage of discovery, and the objects should speak for themselves. The exhibition looks like a huge installation of everyday objects and technical innovations of the past. For example, you'll find strange vehicles, protective suits and even a cat submarine. As you enter you ask: what is the function of these objects, and what era are they from? Both logic and imagination are required here. The best wrong answers are collected on a “best-of” list. Some answers are a little scary: for example, the iron lung – "a ventilation machine that works more like a metal coffin." The ingenious lighting with design lamps also creates an surreal atmosphere. The rooms themselves are also a curiosity: on the walls you can still see the characters of a former Chinese and GDR restaurant.

Highlights in the DesignPanopticon – Museum for bizarre objects

  • Bizarre medical devices and bionic prosthesis.
  • Industrial objects and consumer goods from the last 100 years.
  • Creative installations and displays of strange objects.
  • The premises of a former GDR and Chinese restaurant on-site.

Eerie and amusing places nearby

Strange things happen at the Berlin Magic Museum in Große Hamburger Straße. Here you can learn more about magic and spirituality over several epochs. The Monsterkabinett in Rosenthaler Straße, is great for a family visit. All kinds of eerie ghosts and monsters made from paper mache are displayed and perform for visitors. The Menschen Museum (Human Museum) at Alexanderplatz is the first permanent exhibition of the KÖRPERWELTEN. Located at the base of the Berliner Fernsehturm, it presents visitors with plasticised human bodies, complete with preserved muscle and skeletal apparatus. The Berlin Dungeon is located near the Hackescher Markt. Immerse yourself in the world of Jack the Ripper and Carl Grossmann, the notorious butcher of Berlin. A short distance away is the gallery ART CRU. This house in the Oranienburger Straße presents works of art by people with mental disabilities.

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