At Home with One of Berlin’s Greatest Art Enthusiasts

For many people living at Strausberger Platz, moving here was a conscious choice to make a very special place their home . Ingrid Roosen-Trinks, the managing director of Klassik Radio, chair of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation and curator of the Hamburg Art Week, is one of them.

Let’s pay her a visit and find out what motivated her to come here.

The Captain Pretzel Gallery is a popular place to see and be seen . Art connoisseurs crowd the pavement outside the Adamski Gallery, chattering excitedly about what’s inside. In the Wagner Gallery, visitors virtually crawl inside the photographs on show in their eagerness not to miss a single detail. Strausberger Platz is very high on the agenda of any culture vulture visiting the German capital. However, there is a lot more to the Strausberger Platz art scene than meets the public eye. Gerwald Rockenschaub is a brilliant artist, and Andrea von Goetz a brilliant supporter of the arts. They’ve known each other for a while and collaborated on various projects. Today they’ve arranged to meet in front of the tower formerly known as “House of the Child” at the entrance to Strausberger Platz, where they are joined by four other invited guests – all of them collectors, artists, friends.

House of the Child at Strausberger Platz
„House of the Child“ at Strausberger Platz: Image courtesy of “Part-B Immobilien”

The group make their way upstairs, to the third floor (the two bottom floors of the Strausberger Platz towers are occupied by commercial tenants). The spacious hallway is already crowded with visitors. The new arrivals are relieved of their coats and shown into the apartment, where they are welcomed by the hostess: Ingrid Roosen-Trinks, a well-known figure in the art world. She has spent years building up an internationally renowned collection on behalf of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, has worked as the CEO and programme director for Klassik Radio and promoted the Salzburg Music Festival. Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, Bond girl Eva Green, Joan Collins, Jacqueline Bisset, “Batman” Val Kilmer, Jerry Hall and the pianist Lang Lang are only a few of the many big names who have followed her invitation to attend plays, concerts and opera performances in Mozart’s native city during festival season.

Ingrid Roosen-Trinks herself is an insatiable globetrotter. Looking at her Facebook profile is liable to induce dizziness in lesser mortals: touring through Denmark in a classic car, visits to the Konzerthaus in Vienna, to the Art Basel in Miami and Art Cologne art fairs… Ingrid Roosen-Trinks is happy to go wherever her passion for art of any kind – whether it’s fine or performing arts – takes her. So it’s no wonder that the “open house” events she hosts in her home at Strausberger Platz are extremely popular. With works by artists including Andreas Mühe , Daniel Richter and Rupprecht Matthies on every wall, her two-bedroom apartment is a wonderful reflection of her personal taste. All of her purchases are motivated by her desire to get to know this particular artist.

“If you’re close to somebody and feel mutual sympathy for each other, you learn a lot about the other person over the years,” Ingrid Roosen-Trinks comments, citing her friendship with the art duo Eva & Adele as an example. “Whenever we’re in the mood for people, art or theatre, we come to Berlin.” Because originally Ingrid Roosen-Trinks chose Hamburg rather than Berlin as her adopted home.

There is a strange kind of rivalry between the two cities, with Berliners dismissing Hamburg as too provincial and proud Hamburg residents looking down on the capital’s “poor but sexy” image. Roosen-Trinks is more open-minded. “Both cities are special in their own way and being able to split my time between them is a great privilege for me.” Having a second home in Berlin is a kind of “artistic self-defence,” she jokes, because “I don’t have any more wall space left in Hamburg”. While she has long-established connections in Hamburg, Berlin is more unpredictable and full of surprises. That’s why she tries to “come to Berlin more often than to Hamburg.” It’s also why she started opening her home to strangers. Invitations to her “open house” event go out with the express request: “Please feel free to bring a friend.” She doesn’t even expect guests to RSVP: “The door will be open for a few hours; there will be food and drink. If you can make it, great – if you can’t, there’s always a next time.” Salon culture is all about bringing together an interesting mix of people – in this case, representatives of the local art scene, opera, theatre and classical music – and encouraging them to mingle and talk to each other.

Central Berlin - Strausberger Platz
Adpoted country Strausberger Platz. Image courtesy of “Part-B Immobilien”

Ingrid Roosen-Trinks is an exemplary communicator, who loves to tell stories and allow others to tell their own stories. She is the founder of the “In Best Hands” platform, which turns the internet on its head – or so the website promises. Users searching for a particular object – whether it’s a longboard, a specific type of butterfly, a popular East German brand of deodorant or a wedding dress by Chloé – post a few lines to explain what they’re looking for and why. These little anecdotal snippets are great fun to read, and sometimes really touching.

Ultimately, everyone’s a winner – objects that clutter up one person’s spare bedroom may have real value for somebody else. Helping these two people find each other has mutual benefits. Created by Ingrid Roosen-Trinks in collaboration with Claus C. Ulbricht and the collector and software developer Ivo Wessel, the “In Best Hands” site reflects the same philosophy that drives her “open house” events at Strausberger Platz: let’s open the door and see what happens.