7. May 2015

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.