Sensitive restoration brings historic Berlin cinema back to life

Batek Architekten is guided by the original design codes of the Yorck Kino group’s Passage cinema

Interior view of the bar area at Yorck Kino Passage cinema featuring brown floors, white pillars, a brown bar counter with a section for popcorn, sphere chandeliers, black fridges, pastel pink units and arched pastel green units with shelving
The bar of the Yorck Kino Passage cinema, by Batek Architekten
(Image credit: Marcus Wend)

A historic Berlin cinema has been restored by interior design and architecture studio Batek Architekten, which has breathed new life into the 100-year-old building in Neukölln, home to the Passage cinema of art-house group Yorck Kino.

The original building was constructed in 1908, with a cinema opening its doors there two years later, known as the Passage from 1920. After that closed six decades on, the building spent time as – amongst other things – a furniture storage space, before being restored to its former function by Yorck in 1989.

Now, Batek Architekten has put the original neoclassical design of the cinema first and foremost in a sympathetic redesign that draws the curving forms of the distinctive arched windows of the façade in a muted colour palette.

Interior view of a screen at Yorck Kino Passage cinema featuring blue walls and yellow seats

(Image credit: Marcus Wend)

Original materials dictate the interior design, with the deep red and brown hues of the preserved linoleum flooring in the foyer making a retro foil for the pistachio green of the bar. Elsewhere, original materials are rethought, such as the steel cladding that once made up the bar and is now used as panelling. Both the brass, formerly used for light fittings, and the original plaster mouldings also have a part in the final design.

The mesh of materials continues through to the auditoriums themselves, which encompass a seductive tactility inherent in the blue fabric on the walls and yellow-upholstered seating of one screening room, and the reds and rusts of the other. For Batek Architekten, it is the latest project in a line of sympathetic restorations, including those of the Delphi Lux and Blauer Stern cinemas, also for the Yorck Kino group in Berlin, which similarly draw on a wealth of historical design accents.

For projects as diverse as restaurants, retail and apartments, the studio unites existing architectural structures with organic materials and plays on light, imbuing classical forms with a contemporary freshness.

Close up view of the bar area at Yorck Kino Passage cinema featuring brown floors, a brown bar counter, a black fridge, pastel pink units and arched pastel green units

(Image credit: Marcus Wend)

Interior view of a screen at Yorck Kino Passage cinema featuring red walls with vertical strip lights and red seats

(Image credit: Marcus Wend)

Close up view of the arched pastel green units with shelving at Yorck Kino Passage cinema. There are white mugs and saucers on the shelves

(Image credit: Marcus Wend)

Exterior view of Yorck Kino Passage cinema featuring arched windows, a white sign board with yellow letters and red neon lights

(Image credit: Marcus Wend)


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels. 

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