Sigrid Kohn spent a whole year preparing the Zeughaus-Messe — and on top of that she had to temporarily change the traditional venue — the Zeughaus. Then came the second lock-down, which ruined the staging of the atmospheric arts and crafts fair in the capital. How do you deal with that?
What went through your mind when that was certain?
It can’t be true! The day before the cancellation, I was still enthusiastically posting on Instagram that the latest news from the Berlin Senate was good: events for up to 800 people are possible if a hygiene concept is presented. Well, that was completely different one day later when the prime ministers met.
What would we have seen this year?
The Zeughaushof is extremely popular with exhibitors and visitors due to its special beautiful appearance. The courtyard is our unique selling point. No other trade fair has it so beautifully. We were looking forward to the cold store, because as a transitional location it is very exciting. It is not a smoothly renovated building and brings with it a very unique charm of clarity and history. The aura of the fair would have been quite different, also special. We again had a very good selection of excellent artists.
Is the cold store suitable for the fair?
The big advantage of the cold store is that we have more space than in the Zeughaus. We wanted to use that to open up the spectrum. We had two exhibitions in the planning stage: Haus Brandenburg and the Faculty of Design of the HAWK Hildesheim. The Haus Brandenburg initiative arose from a student project at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. It brings together crafts and design for the development of new regional and sustainable products. The special exhibition would have shown prototypes of furniture and furnishings. In the special exhibition, the Faculty of Design of the HAWK in Hildesheim wanted to present works from the competence fields of advertising design, branding design, digital environments, colour design, graphic design, interior design, lighting design, metal design and product design.
Exhibition planning under pandemic conditions: What is the future of the Zeughaus trade fair?
The Zeughaus fair is a juried sales exhibition. All participants who were juried for 2020 are admitted to 2021 after registering. This is important for the artists. This year, two weeks before the fair, they had produced everything they wanted to sell. They must have this opportunity in 2021. So all that remains are places that are not taken. We cannot see how many of them there are. But it’s always worth applying.
Is there already a new date for 2021?
We don’t have a new date for 2021 yet, but we’re looking for one in January. Maybe it will be in September to avoid the situation we have now for 2021. At the moment we are still in the process of applying for the Corona grants, which will hopefully relieve the burden on many exhibitors who have to pay a proportion of the stand fees and have not made any sales.
We are looking forward to this. Thank you for your commitment and perseverance during this time.
(The interview was conducted by Pascal Johanssen)