Landesarchiv Berlin, F Rep. 290 Nr. 0054762 / Fotograf Gerd Schütz

The Bikini Berlin brand is synonymous with a new concept for the heritage-listed building complex at Berlin’s Zoo, which is significantly influencing the transformation and success of the City West. An oasis in the heart of the city, an urban hub and social universe.

The heritage-listed Bikini Berlin complex includes the Bikinihaus (Bikini Building) opposite the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the large high-rise at Hardenbergplatz, the Zoo Palast cinema, the small high-rise with the 25hours Hotel and the car park at the Aquarium. 

The “Zentrum am Zoo” (Centre at the Zoo) ensemble, completed in 1957 by architects Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger, is a symbol of Berlin’s City West and one of the few still preserved contemporary eyewitnesses to the eventful history of post-war Berlin.

By the end of the 1960s more than sixty fashion companies had moved into the complex, producing and selling textiles and clothing. Once the Berlin Wall was erected, the ensemble of buildings fell into a Sleeping Beauty slumber, from which it was brought back to life in spring 2014 by the Munich-based Bayerische Hausbau following a respectful revitalisation. Bikini Berlin was born: a unique combination of shopping, gastronomy, workspaces, cinema, leisure, recreation and hotel.

The centrepiece of the building complex is the legendary Bikinihaus with a total length of 200 metres. And this is also the namesake of Bikini Berlin – “Bikinihaus” was the name affectionately given to the building by the locals in the 1950s. An open-sided storey framed by columns on the second floor once separated the building into one upper and one lower area. 

The ‘two-piece’ architecture, which is meanwhile fully glazed, reminded the people of Berlin of a bare midriff in a bikini, the daring swimwear fashion causing a stir at the time, hence the name “Bikini”.
Bikinihaus is home to the world’s first concept shopping mall. Consistently differentiating itself from regular shopping centres, the mall sees itself as a compilation of carefully curated and coordinated boutiques and gastro offers. The concept shopping mall is also home to the modular pop-up boxes, which can be rented temporarily. This gives well-known brands the opportunity to launch a new product and also makes it easier for aspiring young designers to present their creations to the public for the first time. 
An additional highlight of the Bikinihaus building is the 7000 m², freely accessible green rooftop terrace, the Bikini Berlin Shopping Garden, which is based on New York’s Highline Park and offers spectacular views into the neighbouring zoo. Exclusive office spaces can be found on the third to sixth floors of the Bikinihaus.
“Change is not an agenda, but a principle.”