The Sony Center is a Sony-sponsored building complex located at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany. It opened in 2000 and houses Sony's European headquarters.
The site was originally a bustling city centre in the early 20th century. Most of the buildings were destroyed or damaged during World War II. From 1961 on, most of the area became part of the No Man's Land of the Berlin Wall, resulting in the destruction of the remaining buildings. After the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, the square became the focus of attention again, as a large (some 60 hectares), attractive location which had suddenly become available in the centre of a major European capital city. As part of a redevelopment effort for the area, the center was constructed. The centre was designed by Helmut Jahn and Peter Walker as landscape architect and construction was completed in 2000 at a total cost of €750M. In February 2008 Sony sold Berlin's Sony Center for less than €600M to a group of German and US investment funds, including investment bank Morgan Stanley, Corpus Sireo and an affiliate of The John Buck Company
Sony Center contains a mix of shops, restaurants, a conference centre, hotel rooms, luxurious rented suites and condominiums, offices, art and film museums, cinemas, an IMAX theater, a Legoland Discovery Centre, and a "Sony Style" store. Free Wi-Fi connections are available for all visitors. During major sports events like the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the centre also had a large television screen on which the games were broadcast to viewers sitting in the large open area in the middle.
The Sony Center is located near the Berlin Potsdamer Platz railway station, which can be accessed on foot. A large shopping centre is nearby, as are many hotels, the Deutsche Bahn central offices, and an office building featuring the fastest lift in Europe.
The illumination of the Sony Center roof was implemented by the Parisian Lighting Artist Yann Kersalé. His idea was to underline the spectacular roof construction of steel, glass and fabric. Kersale’s vision was to have clear glass and translucent fabric reflecting the daylight as well as the moonlight in a very extraordinary way.
In his concept, the transparent structure of the roof serves as a projection surface for the changing light. The colors alternate from cyan to magenta, in order to represent the sunset. In the evening the lighting spectacle begins with white light, which lets the day appear to be longer.
At nightfall, the lights in the Forum turn on and the roof constantly changes its colors. A sequence of this streaming play of colors lasts about 21 seconds and repeats itself without interruption until late at night.