When journalists Amanda and Filip Sandström Beijer moved to Berlin, they sought a platform through which they could introduce the city to them and others. Playful landed in 2019 and has set about establishing itself as a platform for freedom and passion, two of the mainstays of a quality Berlin experience.
Where did Playful come from? Was it from a desire to gain a deep-dive into aspects of a city which you moved to? How has the outsider perspective and fresh-eyed curiosity aided you?
We, Playful’s founders Amanda and Filip, moved to Berlin as freelancers and we spent, just like many other new Berliners, a lot of time at clubs and bars.
We met so many amazing people and felt that we were missing something, a magazine or a platform that lifted all these magical people and subcultures. Filip had long wanted to run something of his own and when Amanda got the idea to create the platform Playful, it became a perfect match.
Today we have the pleasure of meeting Berlin’s most exciting people, both known and unknown. We tell their stories and give them the space they deserve.
Sven Marquardt, the legendary Berghain bouncer and photographer, says in an interview with you that it’s not a natural thing that the values enshrined in Berlin culture will last. In another interview the Senegalese rollerskater Oumi voices her concerns about gentrification and the housing market. Is there a danger of complacency about the city? How under threat do existing scenes and cultures feel?
All urban cities sooner or later reach a stage of gentrification. In Berlin, it is noticeable that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a reasonably priced rental apartment, as we have seen in many other cities before. But, there is also strong opposition in Berlin, a city accustomed to major changes in modern times, which is positive.
When it comes to the club and cultural scene, we have seen major players move a bit outside the city, as neighbours complain when newly built apartment complexes are built nearby.
But we also see fantastic work by the Berlin Club Commission and other actors who, after much and much, have made the clubs become culturally marked.
“I’m just your average, run-of-the-mill, non-binary rubber fiend. I’m an exhibitionist, so you can usually find me crawling around the streets of Friedrichshain and sweating profusely at kinky parties,” says Bloodshrimp (@blood_shrimp) about their latex fetish before drawing interesting parallels between the swimming world and its pathway to this fetish… How much joy does a line and discovery like that elicit in you?
Playful is a magazine that exists to highlight the beauty of all people’s choices, kinks and specialties.
Every time someone stands up for what it is, even if it may not follow the norm, it makes us happy. And to be honest, one of us got the urge to try latex when we wrote the article. We are constantly inspired.
We share a wonderful art director in the form of Lauren Kavanagh. Can you tell us how you met and her impact on your work?
She’s amazing, right? Fate brought us together through a Swedish entertainment magazine called Nöjesguiden, as well as the love of long-nosed dogs. Lauren is the only permanent colleague and we are very happy about that. Otherwise, we work with freelancers.
Who is on your dream list for future interviewees? Is there any underground element you’ve failed to penetrate with your journalistic rigour?
Looking back, we are very proud of all the names we have had so far. We put together each number based on what fits with each other and, if we are to be honest, we do not have someone special we dream of. We value all equally and whoever ends up on our cover does not necessarily have to be the most famous. For example, we are very proud of our autumn issue which is coming this September, which will be something very special.
Where does Playful intend to go next? Where will Playful not go?
We are approaching two years and can already see how we are evolving from being a magazine to a platform. For example, we have started with events and look forward to developing that part now that the pandemic restrictions seem to be fewer.
Maybe you will see us in other cities in the future? We will continue to focus on the people we write about, but also involve them more in projects that are not traditional for print magazines. Being a publisher today is about much more than just the print product.
What has emerged in Berlin post-pandemic? What can those reacquainting themselves with the city again after 18 months expect?
This summer has been bubbling with anticipation. We have seen how club and cultural life has slowly but surely taken a step back, even if there is a bit left until we can dance indoors for 48 hours again.
But visiting Berlin right now is something we would recommend to everyone. We have had fantastic evenings and days at various open airs around the city.
Favourite bar/club/restaurant/uniquely Berlin attraction?
What an incredibly difficult question. We are constantly discovering new things and to keep you updated I would recommend you to read Playful. But, we recently had a wonderful evening at Revier Südost (images below), which we think will be incredibly good when the pandemic is over.
Issue #8 coming soon, €6