“As the World Cup approaches,” we read in The Economist, “Berlin’s businesses are positioning themselves for best advantage. The latest manifestation of this trend is a new, luxury mega-brothel, which opened in late September, just three train stops away from the Olympic Stadium, the tournament’s main venue.”

[Image: The interior of the Artemis, Berlin; from Der Spiegel].

“With plush red curtains,” Der Spiegel writes, “leopard-print cushions and more gold than you’d find at Posh and Beck’s wedding,” the so-called Artemis boasts €5 million worth of refurbishments, including “saunas, jacuzzis, cinemas and a swimming pool, complete with the requisite mini-tropical island. Leopard skin textiles and strategically-placed mirrors abound” – transforming the brothel into a kind of sexualized Sir John Soane’s museum.
Further, the Artemis “can cater for up to 100 prostitutes and 650 male clients. The women are not actually employed: along with the men, they pay a €70 entrance fee and then keep the money they earn,” says The Economist.
But what if there are women clients? And would male sex workers be able to “employ themselves” there, as well? Or will the building financially reinforce expected sex roles?

[Image: The Artemis; from Der Spiegel].

According to Norman Jacob, lawyer for the Artemis (and he says this with apparent sincerity): “[Any female sex worker] can go into the sauna or the swimming pool, get food and non-alcoholic drinks for free. She can even spend the night here and just sleep. And if she has sex she earns money.”
I suppose this is considered a good deal.
But what about the architecture?
As Der Spiegel writes, “the outside of the building is about as erotic as a corporate office park, the interior is a bizarre cross between mid-1990s Las Vegas and a cheezy British ‘Carry-On’ film. The historical decorative flourishes, presumably designed to give the place a touch of class, are almost overwhelming: Greek and Roman statues nestle under Moorish arches, pseudo art deco frescos adorn the walls and even the odd Chinese character on black lacquer is thrown in for good measure. Pretty much every era which has ever been deemed erotic is represented.”
Or, eroticism as a function of architectural ornamentation.
Adolf Loos must be spinning in his grave (or perhaps he’s just humping the coffin…).

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