A spatial experience involving all senses: Vaia fittings from Dornbracht and Aqua dish basins from Alape in the C. Bechstein flagship store in Düsseldorf
Iserlohn/Goslar, 2 November 2022
Experiencing music, seeing notes, feeling sounds – high standards were demanded from the new flagship store of C. Bechstein, a premium manufacturer of upright and grand pianos, in the best inner-city location in Düsseldorf. A challenge that was boldly accepted by designer Nik Schweiger in his brilliantly visualised concept of tradition and innovation. This requirement is also met by the Dornbracht Vaia fitting created by Sieger Design and the Alape Aqua dish basin with its changing colours, that are installed in the bathrooms.
“The new C. Bechstein flagship store participates in the music, as well as in the ‘sonic’ space all the senses can enjoy the experience, down to the last detail.” Nik Schweiger
It is already evident from the façade that the design of the flagship store was inspired by the shape of a concert grand piano. An imposing glass arch resembling the contour of the instrument guides interested parties inside the building, where the materials and ambience are fully in keeping with the C. Bechstein promise of quality. Showroom and concert space, alcoves for consultations, areas for private experiences, and a lounge are arranged over two levels in an area covering 700 square metres. Flexible partitions divide the space into zones as required, allowing it to be used and experienced in different scenarios.
It may look random, but it is a mixture between instrument making and mathematical principles. The godfather for the form finding is the so-called Voronoi diagram. The system of complex space allocation is used in architecture to design triangulated surfaces. The model for the three-dimensional ceiling structure is inspired by the cast iron element, the supporting component in a piano, to which the strings are attached. The piano lacquer that gives the instruments their familiar finish is used as the starting point for other mirrored surfaces within the room.
Space and sound
The visualisation of sounds and waves brings the space to life. Gliding panels based on so-called Chladni figures – patterns produced on a plate sprinkled with sand when it vibrates – emerge as a design element. Made from felt, they absorb the higher-frequency sounds and provide the spatial and acoustic privacy required for consultations. This also turns the flagship store into a versatile concert space.
The understanding of quality that C. Bechstein represents has been properly thought out, so the vibration pattern motif extends to all the details of the space: from the illuminated ceiling and ornamental art of the glass walls, to the wooden wall and gliding panels, to the door handles. The oasis-like atmosphere produced by the luxurious climbing and hanging monstera plants under seven daylight domes is a marked contrast to this rigorous approach.
Down to the last detail
The exceptional composition of materials in the washrooms blends harmoniously into the overall concept of the store. Nik Schweiger: “Just like in music, Dornbracht’s Vaia fitting epitomises the symbiosis of classical and modern, of traditional and contemporary elements of style. It represents a balanced design language that combines the spirit of a classic fitting with a form that is delicately ornamental. Alape’s Aqua dish basin combines pure materiality and delicate lightness. With a slender form made from 3 mm thick glazed steel and the extra-deep colouring provided by the Deep Green nuance, the basin sits enthroned on its base board, creating a special ambiance in conjunction with the fittings, the image of a mountain landscape on the walls, and the rounded mirrors.”