Symphony of a Metropolis – Illusion and Reality: Berlin in the 1920s

The Berlin of the Golden 1920s is a success story which the twentieth century is always happy to tell to its children and now grandchildren also: So much zest, theatricality, drama, lights of the city, traffic chaos, life, which loudly calls attention to itself, should it not want to waste away in the backyards and tenements, cabaret, theater, radio, film, advertising, bob and monocle, queer Kieze, Charleston and the “Uncle Bumba from Kalumba”; everything runs, rages and swells, every day breaking news, sensations and spectacles.

This story, whose radiance shines brighter than five million Osram bulbs (Werk Berlin-Friedrichshain), many have knitted together – artists, city girls, gigolos, bohemians, intellectuals, coke barons, ring clubs and politgangsters, scientists, athletic stars and speculators, Dr. Mabuse, Mackie Messer, Maria, the beautiful machine-man and an endless parade of madly dancing revelers.

Following the bestsellers Hollywood in the 30s and Jazz: New York in the Roaring Twenties, illustrator Robert Nippoldt teamed up with writer Boris Pofalla to capture the spirit of this fascinating decade in an atmospherically dense album.

Nippoldt introduces not only well-known figures such as Lotte Reiniger, Christopher Isherwood, Albert Einstein, Kurt Weill, Marlene Dietrich and George Grosz, but also Thea Alba, “the woman with ten brains”, Magnus Hirschfeld , the “Einstein of Sex”, and the notorious crook Adolf Leib. Before the bright lits of Berlin are dimmed by the Great Depression and Nazi rule, Nippoldt shows us everything one more time: The glaring lights of the big city and the gray of the factories, backyards and tenements, the cries of the sports halls and the silence of the theaters, the singing of the Comedian Harmonists and Marlene Dietrich, who lights a cigarette underneath the brim of her top hat and – smart woman – buys a steambag to Hollywood.


  • Indigo Design Award, 2019, Amsterdam ADC Award, 2019, New York
  • iF Design Award, 2019, Hannover
  • A’ Design Award, 2019 Como
  • German Design Award, 2019, Frankfurt
  • Best Book Award, 2018, Los Angeles
  • Berliner Type Award, 2018, Berlin
  • Red Dot Design Award, 2018, Essen
  • ADC Award, 2018, Berlin
  • Joseph Binder Award, 2018, Wien
  • International Design Award, 2018, Los Angeles


“A jewel and standard work for those who can not get enough of the spirit and glamor, misery and magic of the Twenties and for those who always wanted to know how modern and sparkling Berlin was 100 years ago. .. “- Achim von Borries

Es wird Nacht im Berlin der Zwanziger Jahre is a stroll through a time that seems as familiar to us today as no other epoch of German history. “- Boris Pofalla

The authors:

Robert Nippoldt is a draftsman and book artist. He became known to a wider audience through his award-winning books on America of the 1920s and 1930s, gangsters, jazz and Hollywood. Together with the Trio Größenwahnsinn he presents Ein Rätselhafter Schimmer, a poetic amusement show on the Berlin of the 20s.

Born in 1983, Boris Pofalla studied Art History and General and Comparative Literature at the Free University of Berlin. He is author and art critic of the Welt. In 2015 he published his debut novel Low. He lives in Berlin.


Friday, 04.10.2019 – Tuesday, 10.03.2020

Special event on opening day.

The exhibition concludes with a performance of An Enigmatic Shimmer – Ein Rätselhafter Schimmer on March 10th.


Box Office

Änderungen & Irrtum vorbehalten.