Dallas, Salzburg, Rome, Paris: Karl Lagerfeldâs MÃ©tiers d’Art locations are nothing if not extravagant and far-flung. This yearâs destination of choice, the Elbphilharmonie in Lagerfeldâs hometown of Hamburg, is a true marvel of modern architecture. Here are seven things to note about this yearâs MÃ©tiers d’Art venue.
A landmark in the making
The impressive building we see nowâthat gargantuan glass structure cutting into Hamburgâs low-line skylineâalmost didnât happen. Designed by the famous architecture practice of Herzog & de Meuron, the project was plagued by delays and took almost 13 years to complete, coming in 10 times over budget. (When it was commissioned, it was scheduled to open in 2010 and cost â¬77m.) It wasnât until January 2017 that the â¬789m mega-project was completed and opened itâs doors.
About the architects
The Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron was founded by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in Basel in 1978. They now have offices in London, Hong Kong, New York and Berlin, and received the most prestigious award of the architecture world, the Pritzker Prize, in 2001. Their most prominent projects include Londonâs Tate Modern, Beijingâs âBirdâs Nestâ National Stadium (a collaboration with artist Ai Weiwei) and the PÃ©rez Art Museum Miami, among many others.
It has already hosted a series of high-profile events
Lagerfeld wasnât the only one with his eye on the glass buildingâ¦ Aside for a series of concerts (including U2 and Coldplay producer Brian Enoâs walk-through sound installation) the Elbphilharmonie has already hosted royalty and international summits. In July, the Duchess of Cambridge conducted the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra as part of the German leg of her royal tour (wearing a purple Emilia Wickstead dress) and the G20 summit gathered global leaders there too.
It is a building in a building (on a building)
Now the centrepiece of the HafenCity district, the Elbphilharmonieâor Elphi as the locals call itâsits atop another building: the Kaispeicher A. The 1875 neo-gothic warehouse was reimagined in 1966 after it was almost entirely destroyed in the Second World War, and then again with Herzog & de Meuronâs daring plans. Now it houses a car park, spa facilities, restaurants, conference rooms and a 170-seat auditorium. Where the brick building ends and the cloud-like glass structure beings, is a plaza (where visitors can take in sweeping panoramic views of the city and the Elbe) two further concert venuesâincluding the 2,100-seat Grand Hallâa hotel with 244 rooms, and 45 luxury apartments.
The entrance is nothing short of epic
The 82m-long escalator is described by the architects as âa spatial experience in itselfâ. The creamy spangle-lined tunnel looks simple at first, but gently turns so you cannot see where you are going. Beyond the curve lies a vault-shaped opening and clean views across the city.
About the facade
The glass-clad facade is made up of 1,100 mirrored panels, curved depending on their placement and location and has been likened to a cloud on a cliff, a sail, a wave, a mountain range, a ship, an iceberg and a tent. The roof has become a grand terrace, offering up 350-degree views of the city. The alpine profile was meant to contrast with the horizontality of Hamburg, according to the architects, âas an expression of reaching out into new territory.â
The concert hall is out of this world
The Grand Hall sits at the very heart of the building. Inspired by the classic Greek amphitheater and modeled after football stadiums, it has 2,100 seats across a series of steeply-inclined tiers, radiating around a central orchestra. Adding other-worldly allure to the hall is the âWhite Skinâ in which the space is cladâ10,000 gypsum fibre panels of plaster and recycled paperâthat aid in the âacoustic and visual perception of music,â according to the renowned Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota who was responsible with tuning the space. There are two further recital halls which are smaller in scale but not in ambition.
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