Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Matthias Hoch - Silver Tower

Today is the last day at Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm (Hudiksvallsgatan 8, open until 6) to see Matthias Hoch pictures of the hollow Silver Tower in Frankfurt. The now-defunct Dresdner Bank had famous typographer and designer Otl Aicher together with ABB achitects draw the building - and everything in it - and when it opened in 1978 as the bank's headquarters it stood as the talest building in Germany.

The building's name comes from the aluminum façade it carries. The design is meticulous in every detail - all shapes and objects - including  desks, lightswitches and various buttons, windows and even the floorplan, are shaped as as rounded rectangles. The building must have been immensely expensive to build - ammenities to staff included a pool on the 32nd story, and a conference room secure from wiretapping, with an amazing light installation over it's rounded- edge squared table (see above). Ken Adam, set designer famous from cold-war thrillers such as a number of James Bond flicks, as well as Dr. Strangelove, could not have designed a better set for this paranoid  reality-supersedes-fiction aspect of corporate architecture during the cold war.

But alas, Matthias Hoch is not an architectural photographer per se. The architecture only serves as a backdrop to his socially investigative photography where banal pictures of stacked late-seventies chairs, or a perfectly designed but dusty control panel of unknown use, reveals a lost age - but also a preperation for a new dawn. In early 2009 the Commerzbank took over the Dresdner bank, but since they already have their own headquarters in a later, taller building by Norrman Foster, and because a sale in the midst of the financial crisis was deemed impossible, the building is under renovation by russian workers for future leasing to the Deutsche Bahn. It was during this period that Matthias Hoch had full access to the building, and even though the new owners are opting for  a certificate of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen - approval that the renovation was carried out with the utmost respect for the original design, it is unknown whether the blue and red late-seventies chairs will remain, as well as many of the other designs specifically made for thebuilding.

More information at Galerie Nordenhake.

Archival photos of the Silver Tower:

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