20 150 60 Berliner Seilfabrik celebrates triple anniversary
This year, there will be great cause for celebration at the medium-sized manufacturer of play equipment, all summed up by the numbers – 20 150 60.
150 years is how long it has been since the Berliner Seilfabrik was founded. Originally created to manufacture steel cables for Berlin’s lift industry, the Seilfabrik now produces children’s playground equipment. In the 1970s the firm was responsible for the world’s first mass-produced rope play equipment. 60 years ago, that’s when the idea of rope play equipment originated. Joe Brown, boxer and professor of sculpture, devised his first rope play equipment already in the 1950s. He constructed the initial prototypes and recognized the great pedagogical value of climbing in three-dimensional space. As a homage to the pioneer of rope play equipment, the Seilfabrik launched the Joe Brown Collection last year and everyone is excited about its rope play equipment with an external wooden frame, a world first.
20 years, that’s how long the Berliner Seilfabrik has been family owned. Since the late 70s, Karl Köhler has been part of this long-established company. Even then, colleagues noticed that the production of playground equipment was always his hobbyhorse. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Bavarian parent company moved out of West Berlin and intended to give up its production facilities, but Köhler the entrepreneur recognized the opportunity and took over Berliner Seilfabrik in a management buyout. From then on, the focus was on the development and manufacture of rope play equipment.
The group continues to focus its activities on play equipment, but no longer exclusively on rope play equipment. The Berliner Seilfabrik is now a full-service provider and thus also covers all other play functions. The subsidiary, Urban Design Berlin, concentrates on high-quality “play points” that reinterpret the classic functions of play in sculptural designs for an urban context. The son David Köhler has been managing director of the family firm since more than seven years. In 2009 he spent a year with two colleagues in the USA where he established the first foreign branch. After that successful mission, David Köhler acquired his father’s shares in the Berliner Seilfabrik in 2013.
The team from the Berliner Seilfabrik is looking forward to the celebrations in May and to the partners from all over the world: planners, landscape architects, customers and suppliers as well as friends and family. Guests can expect an evening with live music and a culinary journey with delicious food and drink from countries that play an important role for the people of Berlin. Following a brief welcome, three short presentations will provide an insight into projects from 150 years of the company’s history, 60 years of rope play equipment and 20 years of the family firm.