German oak with the charm of the Far East –
Asia meets Bad Soden

Messer Group Headquarters, Bad Soden

Deutsche Werkstätten services:
Interior design, planning, interior furnishing

Completion 2011


The lift doors already give visitors their first indication of the stylistic taste of the building’s owner. As you step out of the lift on the top floor of the newly constructed headquarters of the Messer Group in Bad Soden, you are looking into a mirror. Reflected in it, you see the closing doors. These are black except for a gold-coloured circular disc, an Asian symbol of the rising sun. Stefan Messer, Chief Executive Officer of the multinational industrial gas producer, spends a lot of time in Asia on business. In his private life too, he likes the colours and contours of the Orient. Among other things, he collects figurines such as Buddhas and vases typical of the Far East. His desire was to integrate these items into the new premises, together with what he jokingly calls ‘Tombstones’, i.e. trophies from the numerous financial transactions of the Messer Group. Deutsche Werkstätten, who provided the design for the interior as well as its furnishings and fittings, went one step further. They not only gave the collector’s items a new home by placing them on the wall in an over-sized, back-lit display case, but to furnish the rest of senior management floor, they also brought together all the existing historic furniture, such as a traditional Chinese wedding chest, and combined this with design classics from the West. These included custom-made pieces such as a coffee table and, most notably, a desk for the CEO’s office. The desk is made from brushed oak and stainless steel with a leather insert. Dark stained oak is one of the principal materials used throughout the whole floor. The doors and door frames, the wood panelling, the built-in cupboards and the display case are all in oak veneer which, because of its brushed effect, feels wonderful to the touch. As a contrasting colour, the Deutsche Werkstätten interior architects chose a rich Chinese red. Whether for the highly polished panels on the outside of the lift, or for the one-off handcrafted pieces of furniture, or for the predominant colours in the paintings by Simone Draxler in the entrance hall, black and red have proven to be a highly successful combination. In addition to the public areas, the office of the CEO and the secretary’s office next door, the conference room was also fitted out with stained black bamboo panelling. This room boasts a playful feature: the room temperature and the lights are controlled by a ‘modified’ gas cylinder.

Text: Deutsche Werkstätten
Photo: Bernadette Grimmenstein