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Rewatex – Abandoned Laundry and Dyeing Factory – Berlin

Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factoryIn autumn sunlight the abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory on the Spree, previously home to  VEB Rewatex, looks almost inviting as an urbex destination but in the snow and cold of a Berlin winter it’s a different story.

When Digital Cosmonaut suggested a trip out to Spindlersfeld last October to explore an abandoned factory I jumped at the chance.  By coincidence, just a few weeks before, as we stood on the opposite side of the river in Köpenick, Bine had told me about the factory where Dry Cleaning had first been developed.

Wilhelm Spindler formed W Spindler, a laundry and dyeing company, in Berlin in 1832 and the headquarters of the firm moved to Spindlersfeld (then Oberspree) in 1873.

Roof at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

The company was acquired by the state in 1949 and renamed VEB Blütenweisß.  In 1961 the name changed to VEB Vereinigte Wäschereien Berlin Rewatex (VEB Rewatex for short) and in 1981 to VEB Kombinat Rewatex.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall the company was again renamed, this time becoming Rewatex AG and was acquired by Kölner Larosé Hygiene-Service-GmbH in 1992.  Shortly after re-privatisation operations ceased and the factory at Spindlersfeld has been empty ever since.

The main factory building is laid out as a square, which means seemingly endless corridors and open rooms with many supporting columns.

The Factory Floor at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

The Light At The End Of The Corridor at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

Crumbling Columns at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

There is also a central courtyard, now overgrown with weeds, which helps give a sense of scale to the complex and is useful when orienting yourself whilst exploring.

The Courtyard of Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

The Courtyard at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

There are signs of the administrative functions of the upper floors of the building with invoices, ledgers and other paperwork strewn across the floors, some showing signs of fire damage.

Paperwork at VEB Kombinat Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

Receipts at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

Paperwork at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

There are the usual signs of disrepair and neglect around the building – floors are warped, ceilings are collapsing and there is graffiti on many surfaces.

Collapsed Ceiling At Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

Graffiti at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

Someone may have been contemplating a repair on this hole in an upper floor but I don’t think Lego bricks would really serve the purpose.

Hole In The Floor at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

There are also a couple of outbuildings worth poking your head into, though there is not much to be seen in them.

Loading Bay at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

My revisit a couple of weeks ago was prompted by one of my favourite Berlin based Street Artists, KEN, posting a photo on his Facebook page of a piece he had painted at the factory.

KEN Street Art at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

It took me a little while to find, as there is only one opening, which would have been a doorway when the room had a floor, that gives a view of the piece.

KEN Street Art at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory (Wide Angle)

The room in which it was painted was badly damaged by a fire on the night of 29 September 2006, which destroyed the upper two floors.  A new roof has since been added – the pristine wood incongruous amongst the damaged brickwork and piles of rubble below.

I didn’t hang around too long on my revisit to the abandoned Rewatex laundry in Berlin because there were animal tracks in the snow not accompanied by human footprints so I wasn’t entirely sure I was alone.  Besides, the site wasn’t as inviting as my first visit as the following two shots show.

Sunset at Rewatex Berlin - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

Leaving Rewatex Berlin in the Snow - an abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory

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8 Responses to Rewatex – Abandoned Laundry and Dyeing Factory – Berlin

  1. digitalcosmonaut 12 February, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post! Love that piece by KEN. I was wondering when you were going to publish this. How far have they come with the construction since the last time?

    • andBerlin 12 February, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      No signs of any progress with construction. If anything, it looks like more vandals have been in there smashing stuff up but there’s now only one way in and out of the main building that I came across.

  2. Gianfranco 12 February, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Awesome and very nice pics ! thanks !

  3. thoades 12 February, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Another fantastic article, really excited about coming back to Berlin again this year, seeing posts on your blog makes me look forward to my next visit even more!

  4. mogli 13 February, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Wow, very slow progress! I was there at the start of 2011 and never bothered to go back because it looked like the building was on its way to get renovated!

    If you have seen the film ‘This Ain’t California’ (I reviewed it here http://www.mo-berlin.com/this-aint-california-review) you might have recognised that part of the film was filmed in the laundry factory.

    • andBerlin 13 February, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      I remember reading your review but I haven’t seen the film so didn’t know part of it was filmed there. I used to skate when I was younger, so that combined with my fascination with Berlin means I’ll keep an eye out for the film when it’s out on DVD.

  5. Bechara Daccache 25 September, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Man such an interesting blog!
    keep it up! (Y)

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  1. Rewatex - Abandoned Laundry and Dyeing Factory ... - 20 November, 2015

    […] In autumn sunlight the abandoned industrial laundry and dyeing factory on the Spree, previously home to VEB Rewatex, looks almost inviting as an urbex destination but in the snow and cold of a Berlin winter it’s a different story. When Digital Cosmonaut suggested a trip out to Spindlersfeld last October to explore an abandoned factory …  […]

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