The Spanish drama Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) became one of the most viewed web series – a global phenomenon and a game-changer for the non-English speaking shows on Netflix. A heist-centric engaging drama that left the audience on the edge of their seats with its telenovela storytelling style. Within a span of 5 seasons, the Spanish series focused on a group of outlaws, each with their expertise and a story as they come together to perform two unpredictable heists. The intriguing plot, which unfolds a new mystery with several twists, focuses on serious social agendas of current times but at the same time keeps the audience engrossed with its dramatic execution as well. Running on adrenaline, the riveting show ratchets up the tension as loyalties shift and lines between hostages, criminals, and the police get blurred.

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La Casa de Papel- Andres de Fonollosa aka Berlin_© Amazon.in – Tallenger store

The statistics are one thing, but what was more phenomenal was the cultural wave it kicked off – a wardrobe of crimson jumpsuits, Salvador Dali masks, Bella Ciao (the show’s anthem) that became a symbol of resistance, of protests against injustices and skepticism towards the government, banks, and the system – “An Anti – System” philosophy.

A phenomenal show with a mystery, action, mind-boggling masterplans, and unpredictable storyline every season cannot grab everyone’s attention without the emotions and connections and the killer cast with their realistic acting. The selection of main characters and the way their strengths, flaws, vulnerabilities, and rich backstories that led them to be a part of this heist and their reactions to situations during the heists add the real depth and uniqueness to the show and the connection that the audience developed with the show or a particular character through the journey of the heist.

All members of the group who are strangers and are to know each other by city names as code names each selected by the professor to form a team for a reason in the grand heist that later turns into a family sharing this emotional, dangerous, courageous, uncertain life and death situations, and small moments of happiness in the roller coaster journey of the heist. Although each fan might have been intrigued by a particular character, there is one member of the group that won hearts despite his repulsive quotes and personality.

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Members of the group Berlin (center), Tokyo (left), Rio (right) _© Collider.

Berlin as a Character

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Berlin of Money Heist played by Pedro Alonso_© Money Heist Wiki- Fandom.

Berlin, a.k.a Andres de Fonollosa, played by the charismatic actor Pedro Alonso. A suave, arrogant jewel thief. He was introduced as the leader in the Royal Mint of Spain heist and was active in planning and strategizing the heist and making sure that plan would be a success. He is a unique fixture in the show but never actually makes it alive past season 2. Despite Berlin’s death, he continues to be a critical part of the show, as piecing together his past allows fans to understand the history of the heists and the motivation behind some of the Professor’s decisions. He went from the narcissistic, aggressive, unbearable, and dark side to then as a happier, logical, carefree person who wants to love someone passionately, live to the fullest, and display his intelligence in his master plans of the heist. Thus though he stood for practically everything that is abominable in the face of society, at times, people still sympathized and understood his outlook on life.

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Berlin from cold-hearted and villainous to a charming and carefree person_© Screen Rant.

Berlin is an enigma. Despite his cold-hearted and villainous posture in his relationship with his colleagues and hostages, Berlin is inevitably charming, unafraid to embrace his disdainful personality, committed to carrying on with any plan as a leader, and with the revelation of his backstory, he becomes more relatable, and the audience goes from seeing him as a villain to a person who is charming, loves his life and at the same time wants to feel loved.

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Quote by Berlin showing his outlook on living life_© Therockle.com

Berlin is bold, confident, and fearless in events of all chaos and crisis. He is unpredictable, brutal, and immoral. He is also intelligent and logical but at the same time reckless and carefree owing to his impending death. He is a man with no bounds and fears, delving into every situation and living each moment of his life fully. He could be considered the most controversial character of the show owing to how he inflicts a love-hate relationship with viewers, his eloquent monologues and posture, and how he romanticizes each of his quotes or his sexist, unbearable behavior.  

Berlin as Architect or Designer 

With any design or art, the designer, architect, or artist portrays his style, principles, beliefs, and personality that guides his understanding of a project’s brief, concept, and design process. Every structure is a part of a representation of the architect’s style and philosophy which is influenced by his nature, thinking, and character.

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Berlin’s admiration and appreciation for art and heritage and his eloquence_© Screen Rant.

Berlin’s love, admiration, and appreciation for art, antiques, and history can be seen in seasons 3 & 4 would play a crucial role in shaping his design ideologies and beliefs. With his experiences in life and the notion of enjoying life, he would be an architect who believes in exploring unconventional ideas and concepts. His work style could be characterized as Avant-garde – innovative, radical, progressive, and experimental. With his fearless and bold attitude and always liberating from normal life into thrilling adventures, likely, his design thinking would be widely based on abstract forms, art in its truest form, concepts with a deeper meaning, controversial structures, and will never allow any restrictions or constraints to bound or limit his pursuit for a concept, creativity or imagination for a structure.

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Berlin’s fearless and bold attitude and his radical thinking_© FleepBleep.

For Berlin, even a small corner is and has to be a piece of art; his eloquence, polished dressing, and the ability to romanticize his monologues in a situation of crisis are proof of his deep admiration and love for art. He, as a character, is both loved, hated, and at times sympathized with by the audience along the seasons; it is likely as an architect, he could be one of the most controversial architects. He has the ability to surprise the viewers with his spontaneous, unexpected, and over-the-top ways. It would be no shocker that his designs and architecture could surprise or shock the world and lead us to question the definition and what we believe of architecture today.

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Quote by Money Heist and his love for aesthetics and art_© Trend Pickle

Berlin Resembling Real-life Architect

Imagining Berlin as an architect, it is inevitable to imagine whom he might resemble in real-life architects and designers of the current world. While speculating about how he could be into the avant-garde style of architecture and controversial projects, one could imagine him resembling or being inspired by architects like Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, or even Peter Eisenman. Architects have different styles and approaches to design thinking and belong to different countries, different eras, and times in a constantly technologically developing world.

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Architect Rem Koolhaas at 67, his habit of shaking up established conventions has made him one of the most controversial and influential architects of his generation _© Smithsonian Magazine.

Berlin’s work will most resonate with Rem Koolhaas – a controversial architect who shook cultural landscapes with his provocative designs and concepts; his projects have alternately awed and infuriated those who have followed his career. He works as a conceptual artist – able to draw on a seemingly endless reservoir of ideas very similar to Berlin’s personality. Koolhaas once said, “We are surrounded by crisis mongers who see the city in terms of decline. I kind of automatically embrace the change. Then I try to find ways in which change can be mobilized to strengthen the original identity. It’s a weird combination of having faith and having no faith”. He participates in many competitions because it allows for creative freedom and taking risks as the firm invests a lot of time and money for projects that will never be built. To Koolhaas, this is an acceptable trade-off quote – “I’ve never thought about money or economic issues. It allows me to be irresponsible and at the same time his strength”, resembling Berlin’s reckless, radical, fearless, and experimental character.

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CCTV Headquarters, Beijing by Rem Koolhaas_© Dukai, Architectural Digest
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De Rotterdam complex, Dutch city by Rem Koolhaas_© Ryan Koopman.
Seattle Public Library by Rem Koolhaas_© Charlie Schuck

Berlin would have been an unconventional, controversial, and influential architect whose revolutionary, paradigm-shifting designs would have changed the architecture of today and been an inspiration for younger generations to aspire for creating their imagination into reality not limiting their creativity and to be fearless and constantly challenge themselves and explore the world of architecture to find their niches and specialities.

Bibliography

    • Chibber, Mini (2021). Pedro Alonso on Berlin from ‘Money Heist’: ’he has no rules or limits. The Hindu Available at: https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/pedro-alonso-on-berlin-from-money-heist-he-has-no-rules-or-limits/article61422686.ece
  • ScreenRant (2021). Money Heist: Berlin’s Transformation over the seasons. Available at: https://screenrant.com/money-heist-berlin-season-1-recap/
  • ScreenRant (2020). Money Heist Character Guide: Every Robber’s Real Name & Backstory. Available at: https://screenrant.com/money-heist-characters-robbers-real-names-backstory/
  • Smithsonian Magazine. Why is Rem Koolhaas the World’s Most Controversial Architect? [Online]. Available at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/why-is-rem-koolhaas-the-worlds-most-controversial-architect-18254921/
  • Nast, C. (221). How Netflix’s Money Heist became a worldwide phenomenon. [Online]. GQ India. Available at: https://www.gqindia.com/entertainment/content/how-netflixs-money-heist-became-a-worldwide-phenomenon
  • Collider. (2021). “Money Heist: How Berlin Went From Unbearable to Fan Favorite. [online] Available at: https://collider.com/money-heist-berlin/

 

Author

I am a person with varied interests and curious nature and architecture has provided me opportunities to grow and develop myself. The depth and vastness of the field has kept me on my toes and always want to explore, learn, understand and contribute to the field. I a fresh graduate believe every place and space has a lot of stories to tell and I wish to tell some of those.

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