Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos - Montblanc Haus, a place dedicated to the art of writing
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Montblanc Haus, a place dedicated to the art of writing

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

Culture  /  Completed
Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

Montblanc is known internationally for its fountain pens, which stand out for their quality, precision and excellence, and have been manufactured in the Hamburg factory for more than a century. Paying homage to the art of writing, the building is conceived as a 100 m long volume that evokes the shape of a writing instrument case. The relief in the concrete façade expresses the gesture of the hand in writing or drawing on a larger scale, while the exhibition spaces inside show the remarkable precision of these objetcs. Suspended above the central foyer, the company's archive hangs symbolically over the bright interior spaces accessible to the visitors, in the conviction that the art of writing and architecture share unexpected commonalities that resonate in this building.

The building presents itself as an enigmatic exterior construction attentive to the scale of its surroundings and the quality of space and light inside, conscious of the role of architecture in the revitalisation of industrial areas and the generation of public space. The main façade transforms the exterior image of the manufacturing facility. A black concrete façade forms a relief reminiscent of the Mont Blanc mountain massif that inspires the company's name. Indirect lighting built into the façade structure creates a spectacular light display of the building in the dark. A wide open area defined by a green hill, protects from outside traffic creating an extension of the surrounding vegetation and a space for outdoor public recreation.

The project takes into account the economical use of resources and energy consumption through an energy-efficient construction method and compact structure. In addition to the high design quality of the materials, durability and efficiency are at the forefront of the design.

The design of the thermally effective building envelope, and in particular the façades, is essentially based on the approach "reduction of energy demand takes precedence over optimisation of energy demand coverage". The aim is to reduce the energy demand through passive measures.

The solid construction has a favourable effect on the energy demand. In contrast to buildings in lightweight construction, energy demand peaks do not occur or are significantly reduced.

Montblanc Haus is a place dedicated to the art of writing. It is located next to Montblanc's manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Hamburg in Altona. The building is the result of the first prize in a limited international competition announced by Montblanc. It combines a permanent exhibition programme, temporary exhibition spaces, a boutique, a writing studio, a café and meeting rooms in a single building that represents the identity of the renowned manufacturer of fountain pens and writing instruments and inspires its visitors to write. The project was conceived as a 100 m long volume that evokes the shape of a writing instrument case and conceals within a complex sequence of spaces over three levels around a unique zenithally illuminated foyer. The building, with a usable area of 4,390 sqm, houses a permanent exhibition that invites visitors to learn about and experience writing through the history of the precise writing instruments that are part of the Montblanc archive. The main façade radically transforms the exterior image of the manufacturing facility. Spanning the entire length of the building, the black concrete relief is defined by different layers of depth that recall the skyline of the mountain massif that give the brand its name as well as the gesture of the hand when writing. A wide open area, defined by a green hill, protects from outside traffic, creating an extension of the surrounding vegetation and a space for outdoor public recreation.

The main interest of the project lay not only in the quality, precision and excellence of the objects Montblanc manufactures, but also in the original purpose of the building as a showroom for writing inspiration. In a time when the handwritten word is often replaced by the new digital media, we know that the wielding of the pen, the pressure on the paper and the ink in drawing - for example in architecture - is as valid a means of expression as the text itself.

Credits

 Hamburg
 Germany
 Montblanc International GmbH, Hamburg
 Exhibition and brand experience building
 05/2022
 4390 mq
 Confidential
 Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos. Fuensanta Nieto, Enrique Sobejano. Patricia Grande, Johannes Hanf
 Project Architect: Kirstie Smeaton - Project team: Clemens Ahlgrimm, Lucía Andreu, Adi Levaton, Ina Specht, Iñaki Pérez
 W+P Gesellschaft für Projektrealisierung mbH, Stuttgart
 Structural engineer: Werner Sobek, Stuttgart - Mechanical engineer: WS Green Technologies, Stuttgart - Landscape architect: Frank Kiessling Landschaftsarchitekten, Berlin - Fire safety consultant: Müller-BBM GmbH, Berlin - Acoustic consultant: Müller-BBM GmbH, Berlin - Lighting consultant: Kardorff Ingenieure Lichtplanung GmbH, Berlin - Façade engineering: Werner Sobek, Stuttgart - Site supervision: W+P Gesellschaft für Projektrealisierung mbH, Stuttgart - Executing architects: PLAN FORWARD GmbH, Stuttgart - Project Management: W+P Gesellschaft für Projektrealisierung mbH, Stuttgart
 Roland Halbe

Curriculum

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos was founded by Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano and has offices in Madrid and Berlin. They are the recipients of the National Prize for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage by the Ministry of Culture of Spain (2008), the Nike Prize issued by the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA), (2010), as well as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2010), the Piranesi Prix de Rome (2011), the European Museum of the Year Award (2012), the Hannes Meyer Prize (2012), the Alvar Aalto Medal (2015) and the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts by the Ministry of Culture of Spain in 2017. Their major works include the Madinat al-Zahra Museum, the Moritzburg Museum in Halle, the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián, the Zaragoza Congress Centre, the Martin Chirino Foundation in Las Palmas, the Joanneum Museum extension in Graz, the Contemporary Art Centre in Córdoba, the Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia and the Montblanc Haus in Hamburg.

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