A piece of American design history in Berlin: the “Triesch Residence” by Ray Kappe

Iserlohn, 4 June 2024

Works of art in wood and glass that convey a sense of freedom: the style of all the buildings by Raymond “Ray” Kappe, one of the most important innovators in modern architecture, is unmistakeable. A few years before his death, Berlin collector and furniture dealer Lars Triesch asked the icon to design a house for himself and his family. Fittings and shower applications by Dornbracht are an essential part of the overall structure.

Southern Californian Modernism on the outskirts of Berlin
It lies among the green hills of Los Angeles almost like a tree house. The “Kappe Residence” is considered one of the most magnificent buildings in Southern California. Raymond “Ray” Kappe’s home is a contemporary evolution of the early Southern Californian tradition of glass houses. It combines modern aesthetics with an organic closeness to nature, and thus represents the blueprint for many later works by its creator. When Lars Triesch chanced across the iconic house in Rustic Canyon a few years ago, a bold idea began to take shape in his mind. Not only should his home be inspired by Kappe’s distinctive style – Ray Kappe himself was to design it. In 2017, Triesch approached the then 89-year-old architect and asked him to design a house for his family. Five years later, the “Triesch Residence” stood in the midst of a green idyll surrounded by trees in Kleinmachnow on the southern edge of Berlin.

Open rooms, natural light
The “Triesch Residence” has all the characteristics that make up the style of its creator. Clean horizontal lines and proportions, augmented by open rooms bathed in light, and notable for the use of redwood and glass. The floor plan is designed in such a way that the individual areas inside merge seamlessly into one another. On the ground floor, the entrance, living and dining area as well as the kitchen form a single flowing structure without any doors. On the kitchen island, Sync by Dornbracht reflects this dynamic approach with its progressive design language. A sculptural, self-supporting staircase leads from the living area to the first floor, where an open gallery connects the two levels. The master bedroom is accessed via a walk-in wardrobe that is directly connected to the main bathroom. As everywhere on the upper floor, a continuous band of windows is set directly under the ceiling.

Compositions of wood, glass and natural stone
The flowing design is also a key feature in the three bathrooms, which prove to be interesting compositions of wood, glass and natural stone. Polished Rauris natural stone is used for the floors and for the washstands in the main bathroom on the first floor. Two fittings from Dornbracht’s Meta series subtly accentuate the minimalist clarity of the interior design. The finishes in Brushed Platinum harmonise gently with the grey of the tiles, intensifying the warm ambience created by the redwood timber. In the shower area, a strip of windows through which the light falls directly from above emphasises the basic feeling of freedom. The children’s bathroom follows a similar design, as does the guest bathroom on the ground floor. A small spa area has been set up next to the latter. A sauna is complemented by a handmade wooden bath designed in the Japanese style by the Californian carpenter Andrew Brent. The Aquamoon experience shower by Dornbracht, whose round dome is integrated directly in the wooden ceiling, completes the relaxation experience.

Legacy of an architectural legend
Products by the manufacturer Dornbracht harmoniously complement the modern yet nature-loving aesthetics that are a feature of this house. “The minimalist beauty of the fittings and their sensuality speak for themselves,” says Lars Triesch with satisfaction. He continues: “It’s no coincidence that Ray Kappe favoured Dornbracht in all his homes. So for me, it was a given that I should do the same and follow his lead.” Unfortunately, the visionary architect was not able to witness the completion of the building for himself. He died in 2019 at the age of 92. Sons Ron and Finn Kappe and their team finished the “Triesch Residence” that ultimately became his legacy: a piece of American design history in Germany.

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