Employees of Berlin’s public transport company BVG got a creepy surprise last week, when they discovered a fully-furnished bedroom in an unused section of U-Bahn tunnel. The bedroom was tidy and well looked-after, but the BVG claims that it wasn’t lived in.
These photos, sent anonymously to the Berliner Zeitung news site, may be part of an art project, a political statement, or a prank. The room, on the Berlin Metro’s line 9, is furnished with an Ikea bed, a potted plant (recently-watered), an easy chair, and even a TV, wallpaper, and art. The room, says Berliner Zeitung’s Antje Kara, seems to have a 1980s office vibe to it, although it’s more of a Communist-era East German 1980s vibe than the garish, neon-colored 1980s us Westerners experienced.
The buzz around the prank is focusing on who did it, and how, complete with complaints that Berlin’s metro security has failed. The who may remain a mystery, but the how is easy. Taking your Ikea flatpack furniture home on public transport is totally normal in Berlin. Nobody would pay you any attention. And looking at the photos, it seems that the bedroom is in a part of the underground system away from the actual train tunnels, meaning nobody had to jump off a platform and disappear into a tunnel with a heavy CRT TV set.
By secret underground construction standards, this bedroom is small fry. In the summer of 2004, police in Paris discovered a clandestine cinema hidden in the city’s extensive catacombs while running a training exercise. The 3,000-square-foot subterranean complex was “strung with lights, wired for phones, [and] live with pirated electricity.”
The underground bedroom is still pretty creepy, though. Unless you’re one of Berlin’s homeless, trying to survive the Northern European winter. Then it might seem pretty appealing.