Last autumn the SPIEGEL Group moved into its new publishing premises in Hamburg’s Hafencity district. The impressive structure at Ericusspitze surrounded by the waters of the Elbe was designed by Danish architect Henning Larsen. The Stuttgart-based Ippolito Fleitz Group was tasked with designing the building’s new employee cafeteria. The use of textiles lends the new cafeteria’s interior an alluring look.
The soaring atrium gives way to light-coloured walls and floors of Crema Marfil marble. From a height of 60 metres, daylight streams in through a striking skylight. Staggered, almost haphazardly arranged skywalks and stairs connect the galleries in front of the offices. Panoramic lifts climb to the thirteenth floor. The ground floor features five area rugs forming grey-coloured islands with white tables and red egg chairs by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen. The ground transforms at the entryway to the employee restaurant. The team from Stuttgart’s Ippolito Fleitz Group chose a white terrazzo floor structured with black lines.
Flowing space plan
The legendary Spiegel cafeteria in the former building was the work of Verner Panton and, while the current overall design harkens back to it, it does so referentially but not repetitively. Gunter Fleitz, Managing Director of Ippolito Fleitz Group, states: “The overall design is one that actively engages with the space the way we perceived it. This is a geometric space. Our interior decorating approach was to design something flowing.”
The bedrock is the flooring that attracts light into the depth of the space. A wave-shaped wooden wall breaks up the heavy feeling of the walls, seeming almost like a cloth curtain. Thousands of perforated light-reflecting aluminium plates on the ceiling ensure a pleasant acoustic ambiance.
Preserving Panton’s world
The fifth-floor snack bar is a relic from days gone by. Project coordinator Julide Kurtulus refashioned Panton’s design – which dated back to 1969 – for the new building under the exacting standards prescribed by the historical preservation authority. The interior designer strikingly decorated the nine-metre high wall facing the city with roughly 115 square Panton lamps. Chandeliers, chairs, tables, purple prisms of fabric and reddish orange patterned rugs have found a new home. And a couple of easy chairs were also added to the mix: “They’re furnishings that Verner Panton designed. We never left Panton’s world,” explains Kurtulus. And Panton’s world doesn’t end there. A textile wall in conference room 4 also evokes the Danish designer.