Date: 2013-2015
Client: Galleria Kaufhof
Status: Completed
Size: 4,000
Credits: ACME Team(Peter Hofstetter,Lizy Huyghe, Delphine Körner, Friedrich Ludewig, Iria de la Peña, Eleni Meladaki, Frederic Meurisse, Paolo Moretto, Heidrun Schuhmann, Gulsah Unal,)
Pforzheim is an historic town located at the edge of the Black Forest. The town has a 300 year history as the German centre of jewellery production, leading to its official name as Goldstadt Pforzheim, the ‘Golden City’. While the production of jewellery has changed over the years, Pforzheim remains a world centre for the production of fashion jewellery, chains, necklaces and gemstones for the main German and French fashion houses. A large number of local companies remain dedicated to producing and finishing jewellery, primarily formed from coiled flat metal and transformed into 3d objects by processes of punching, shearing and pressing.

The city centre was completely destroyed in the war and rebuilt in the 1950s, including the Kaufhof Department Store, which was overclad in 1963 with ceramic "Horten" tiles. The external cladding has no thermal or functional role, it is a freestanding decorative wall, cladding a blank box behind. The tiles had a live expectancy of 40 years, and had been severely damaged by water egress and subsequent frost damage. Emergency netting was installed to prevent further elements falling off and killing anyone, and the building was scheduled for urgent recladding.

The new façade design reinterprets the traditional jewellery metalworking techniques of Pforzheim, to punch and press flat metal to create decorative effects. The proposal obtains volumetric qualities and depth by utilising elements of the typical guilloché pattern-making process and triangulated cut-outs. The resulting openness and animation of the façade varies according to the spectator’s location and the daylight demands of the house and changes as one moves around the building. The Kaufhof Pforzheim could herewith become a new urban landmark, expressing its identity as a building rooted in the metal craftsmanship of the region.