If you’ve used the U-Bahn (underground train) in Berlin you’ve probably noticed that the windows are covered with a transparent sticker with a repetitive white Brandenburg Gate graphic. If you’ve given the windows more than just a cursory glance you may have noticed that the perspective of the illustrations of the Brandenburg Gate on those Berlin U-Bahn windows makes it look decidedly wonky.
Protective stickers were first added to the windows of the Berlin U-Bahn trains in 2006 to reduce the effects of vandalism during the World Cup and the Brandenburg Gate design was rolled out in 2008.
The Chief Executive of the BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe), the company responsible for running the city’s underground transport network, Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta said in an interview with Berliner Zeitung in March 2015 that the use of the protective stickers saves the company 1m Euros per year.
Unfortunately, the varying lengths of the six columns of the Brandenburg Gate and the perspective of the second column from the left in particular make you wonder if a child drew it, or if the artist was drunk.
And to make matters worse it’s the kind of detail that can’t be unseen. Once you’ve noticed it, it will bug you forever.
The BVG is well aware of the perspective issue. Customers regularly contact the company to point out the error and suggest that the design should be changed.
In January 2015, Melisa Karakus and Danny Schuster, graduates of the Universität der Künste Berlin (University of the Arts) and partners in the design firm MALUMA/TAKETE, uploaded a redesigned graphic to the website Design Made in Germany.
At that time, a spokesperson for the BVG said that the pair were too late as the company’s Graphics Department had already created a new design that would be rolled out from April 2015 at the latest.
Nothing though has changed as of yet but the BVG certainly has a sense of humour about the whole thing. The social media team for their ‘Weil wir Dich lieben’ image campaign sent the following tweet to a friend of mine who questioned the continued use of the wonky gate.
— Weil wir dich lieben (@BVG_Kampagne) January 12, 2016
The English translation of the text on the image is ‘The Brandenburg Gate as we see it.’