Berlin’s WECC – Not Your Ordinary Venue
The map says it’s smack-dab in the middle of Germany’s landlocked capital, but the seaside ambiance of Berlin’s largest port can’t be denied. This is where the red carpet is rolled out for events staged to raise eyebrows and a bit of a ruckus. Anyone who wants to rock the boat can pull right up in anything that floats—dinghy, tug or river cruise ship—and moor at this unusual location’s jetty. Open since April 2015, the Westhafen Event & Convention Center, or WECC for short, is spacious, modern and versatile; a venue unlike any other in Berlin and parts beyond. And satis&fy managed to land the job as general contractor for this historic ensemble.
Extended in the 1920s, Berlin’s harbor grew to become Germany’s second largest inland port. Lagerhalle I, a former production and storage facility, was erected here. Today the building is equipped with everything a modern event venue needs. Although much has changed over the past century, container ships still dock at the wharf just around the corner for their cargo to be unloaded and carted off by trucks. Assimilated into the hall’s sophisticated architecture, the grain chute and port crane stand as reminders of a time when the hulking multi-storey hall served as a grain depot for West Berlin. Until the fall of the Wall, it held heeps of wheat as a back-up food supply for a city that lived under the constant threat of blockade.
After several months of refurbishment, the building’s interior sparkles with the finest in fixtures—infloor heating and cooling, a 250 m² industrial kitchen, new flooring and windows, ubiquitous Wi-Fi, and high-tech projection equipment for presentations and conferences. Anything goes, be it a gala dinner, a workshop, a casual get-together, a convention with multiple panels, fairs, and even combinations of exhibitions, seminars and lectures. All the rigging hard ware is built in, offering boundless options for mounting spotlights, video art and decorations. The installed lighting casts a warm glow about the rooms. This potent ambient lighting underscores the building’s fetching architecture with countless CI color choices. And the powerful sound system covers even the far reaches of the largest hall. The WECC is the crossroads where Berlin’s centuries-old industrial heritage and today’s rapidly evolving service experience converge in a decidedly functional, yet remarkably stylish setting for events. Fortunate to have been selected as the venue’s partner while construction was underway, satis&fy was able to factor its specifications into the equation early on. Five of the production company’s project managers have since catered to customers of the venue managed by the WECC’s directors Thorsten Schermall and Jean-Claude Ketterer of Roof GmbH & Co. KG.
To these managers’ great delight, clients such as SAP, Microsoft and Deutsche Fußball Liga have opted to use these premises for their ends. Recently the communications company Gigaset unveiled its new ME smartphone at a grand showcase staged during the IFA 2015 fair. Every room in the building hosted a presentation, seminar or interviews. satis&fy provided for BBDO Live AV, transmission and lighting equipment, and decorations. The showcase certainly wowed the 300 guests, journalists, partners, bloggers, YouTubers, and industry insiders who are unlikely to forget their voyage to this singular events islet in the heart of Berlin.
Pictures: Thomas Rosenthal