SWAP YOUR SCREEN FOR AN ANALOG ADVENTURE — POSTER PRINTING AT ERIK SPIEKERMANN’S LETTERPRESS WORKSHOP
Workshop, gallery, workshop, co-working space, collection – p98a is all that and more. Founded in 2013 by Erik Spiekermann – a legend in typeface design circles – the space is tucked away in a backyard where you’re greeted with fountains and murals. It’s one of those small, unexpected corners on Potsdamer Strasse that take you back to the days when artists, writers and intellectuals would spend their evenings together there. Today, Potsdamer Straße is a colorful mix, and this is reflected at No. 98. Here you’ll find Erik’s “private” collection of letterpresses – type cases filled with lead and wooden letters and printing presses collected over the decades. The room has a bright ambience that gives the collection the presence it deserves, even today. It’s not just letters that have accumulated here; the studio is also known for exciting discussions, interesting encounters and friendships. Lilith, Helene and Lennart now work here alongside Erik, giving workshops to introduce you to letterpress printing.
Lilith leads you through the rooms, explaining how the first books were produced en masse and where terms like “kerning” and “spacing” come from. In the narrow, long hallway you find large wooden letters which, when seen alone, have a special quality. After the studio tour (and an espresso), you move on to the presses, where you can print your own poster. You also make fun discoveries, like how the “Better Done Than Perfct” poster actually didn’t turn out so perfect. But that’s exactly why printing here is always exciting: each poster has a unique character due to the scratches and dents that have developed on the letters over the centuries. How you roll and apply ink to the plates, what kind of paper you print on, and how you handle the printing press all come into play. You learn all this during the workshop and by the end you will have printed a near-perfect poster. Whether it’s a studio tour, a workshop in a small group or a team-building event – at p98a print enthusiasts can find a second home and enjoy the absence of computer screens, at least for a short moment.
Text & Photos: Robyn Steffen
p98a, Potsdamer Str.98, 10785 Berlin–Tiergarten; map
You can book a place at the workshops here.