Not all that glitters is gold

Uhrenhaus Andreas Huber

 

Completion 2006

Photos

Describing the timepiece collection housed within the Andreas Huber showroom in Munich is perhaps best done by paraphrasing Oscar Wilde’s claim that he was “always satisfied with the best”. All the big names are found here and it is not uncommon for some pieces to rival the value of a luxury automobile.

That such commodities need an exclusive presentation, as far removed from mass-produced series furniture as possible, is certainly inherently implied. No wonder that Andreas Huber Timepieces chose prestigious architect Hans Kollhoff for the renovation and remodelling of their sales rooms. From the design to the interior decoration to the furniture, everything was planned and realised under the direction of Hans Kollhoff.

 

We have worked together with Hans Kollhoff for many years on such joint projects as Berlin’s ‘Federal Foreign Office’ and ‘Newton Bar’. But, of course, past successes do not automatically guarantee an architect will elect to work with us again in the future.

Thus, along with five other enterprises, we competed for the assignment. It was clear from the outset that only the highest technical and artistic expertise would suffice for the interior elements and the individual pieces. Even in the earliest stages, still during the awarding phase, a sophisticated model of a display cabinet was requested. The review stage weighed quality against cost. Meaning, of course, that the lowest-priced offer would not automatically prevail. Quality was a fundamental criterion in awarding this commission.

For us, this was an approach as if made to order. It gave us the opportunity to prove our technical and creative abilities. The architect provided the draft for the model and it was a clear indication of what would later be expected of the firm awarded the contract. An opportunity to demonstrate workmanship mastery at its best. As would be the full-scale version, the piece was to be made from Makassar ebony and given a high-gloss lacquer. Valuation would take the surface into as much consideration as the contoured faceted glass. Such fractured edges can only be ground by hand. We gave it our all, and were awarded the bid. To cite an example of the excellent workmanship required, take the detailed structuring of the wall panelling. It proved a formidable challenge. In some areas, the profile gradation amounted to just 2.5 mm, hence we were working in the half-millimetre range. The veneer was not produced as one continuous lot, meaning that there would be no specific pattern to the veneer sheets. And yet they are orchestrated in such a way so as to achieve an overall homogeneous effect. A precise selection of individual veneer sheets underlies the seeming randomness. The cornice along the wall is an intricate indented frieze made from a total of 5000 individual staves. The profiles are made from solid Makassar wood. This ebony, only sold by the kilo, is singularly noble and expensive. Nevertheless, all that we ruled as being inferior to our standard of quality was consistently sorted out. The same wood was used for the furnishings – the crowning glory of the entire ensemble. In adherence to the plans drafted by Hans Kollhoff, the tables and chairs, and in fact all the fixed furnishings, bask in a high-gloss finish. All in all, an auspicious interior design reflecting the high demands of the client right down to the smallest detail.

Text: Deutsche Werkstätten
Photo: Susanne Wegner