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Sven Marquardt: "We need to rebuild Berlin together"

By: Amanda Sandström Beijer

Photos: Shanélle de Melo


Sven Marquardt Berghain Bouncer in Playful Magazine


Sven Marquardt is probably the biggest international Berlin icon on the underground scene. Born and raised in the city, the photographer and Berghain bouncer talks about why it’s the joint responsibility of all Berliners to rebuild the culture – since the entertainment scene have lost force during the pandemic.


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Getting Sven on the cover of Playful Magazine is a smooth process. As a Playful reader and highly experienced photographer he’s been emailing with the team the weeks before the photoshoot. It’s easy to imagine that he wants to be portrayed in black and white as he is on the many pictures you’ll get when you google him, but no. Sven wants the cover to pop, Playful style.


Sven’s assistant and friend Hardy is arriving together with the well–dressed Berlin legend to help out with translating German into English. When he’s not busy translating during our session (which is not too often since Sven’s English is not bad) he’s keeping track of the 30 glasses that Sven has brought for the shoot, as well as keeping an eye on the clothes so that no cat hair gets stuck on his suit.


We put Peanut, the cat, in his arms and it gets comfortable right away. Not nervous or eager to leave, but indulgently cuddles in his arms.


”I used to have cats before. I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, but I like the Greyhound’s, they are somehow different”, he says. ”But no one would expect me with a Greyhound”, he laughs.


Of course, since the city was divided, you knew that some relatives lived on the other side of the wall and that you couldn’t visit them, but not really why.

Sven still lives in East Berlin - Mitte/ Prenzlauer Berg/ Friedrichshain, the area that has always been his home, as well as the location of Berghain.


”As a child, you’re not really aware of what ’the rest of the world’ looks like. I didn’t question that we couldn’t travel since we were in the Democratic Republic. Of course, since the city was divided, you knew that some relatives lived on the other side of the wall and that you couldn’t visit them, but not really why. Sometimes they shipped over presents in nice boxes and these stuff. Overall, it was a peaceful place to be brought up in.”