Law firm of Hengeler Mueller Partnerschaft, Düsseldorf

Construction, production and installation of conference floor

Completion 2003

Photos

From time to time, Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau is awarded a commission which clearly transcends traditional bounds. This was one of them. The client was the globally-active law firm of Hengeler Mueller in Düsseldorf. The work entailed designing an interior for the Düsseldorf location to be just as elegant as it was functional. Which turned out to be particularly tricky as far as the conference rooms were concerned. The question: How does one create first-class acoustics in a room glassed on three sides? Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau consulted with Petzinka Pink architects and discovered that the most visually-appealing solution would entail a span of leather on the fourth wall. Distinct difficulty: the ceilings were too high for continuous leather. In addition, space had to be created for the media equipment. This was realised by means of layering fabric, wool, fleece, perforated acoustic tiles and leather hung like panels in a wooden stand construction 90 centimetres in front of the walls. The interior space thus created accommodates all the technical installations including media equipment. Noise-insulating doors were used to counter the noise of the fans. The outer leather covering was bunched into three 1.10 metre long sections, each holding one element. Not an easy task given such supple material, as anyone familiar with the process of manufacturing chairs can certainly attest. And yet the seams in the Hengeler Mueller conference rooms are absolutely straight. The doors in the leather walls (3.30 by 1.10 metres) can do without visible strips. As high as the noise control requirement was, the design utilised has probably not yet been realised anywhere else. Sucupira was used for the doors, one of the hardest woods Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau has ever worked with. Some of the sideboards were also made from this wood; they appear to be floating out from the walls. A panel on the side slides to reveal a compartment with the panel bevelling out to a mitre cut: a fastidious detail.

Text: Rainer Baginski
Photo: Tomas Riehle/Artur