Text: Jessica Holzhausen

LABOR WELTENBAU is an internationally acclaimed architecture and design firm based in Stuttgart that has now existed for more than 18 years and boasts a wide portfolio. Next to architecture, retail design and creating brand worlds are an important part of LABOR WELTENBAU’s work: Edgy, emotional, unconventional and free-spirited – spaces and products just like the architects’ mind-set.

Architect and founder Elmar Gauggel is a creative person and as designer it is important for him to sometimes look outside the box. Gauggel is committed to the idea of interdisciplinary exchange between media, design and architecture. Very early on, LABOR WELTENBAU embraced new trends and technologies, exploring the cyberspace before it became mainstream. Their architecture was inspired by the ultimate freedom they found online and the team modelled and designed a future vision of cities, buildings and scenarios using computer technology. Architecture and design always coexisted in this unique laboratory in Stuttgart and so it does not come as a surprise that architecture, brand development and design still play an equal role today.

In March, for example, ZEISS releases a collection of glasses Elmar Gauggel has designed: “What might be the most interesting aspect here is that it is called the ARCHITEKT KOLLEKTION and every pair of glasses bears the first name of a famous architect.” LABOR WELTENBAU has also worked successfully on brand architecture, for example the Leica Showroom in Solms or the Telefonica booth at the Cebit 2017. Elmar Gauggel is the worldwide leadarchitect for two brands: LABOR WELTENBAU develops the retail concepts for ZEISS (VISION CARE) and for Degussa Goldhandel (GmbH) and was also responsible for all their retail spots around the globe. In the end it is always a question of scaling: “Here in our office, we work with very different scales, from product design to the full concept for major projects. Even though it might seem a bit strange, the composition and principles of order are very similar in product design and architecture. Especially at the beginning of a design phase, many topics can be scaled from small to big and vice versa.” As the golden cut, for example, shows, the ratio and not the size defines what we find aesthetically pleasing. “We are fascinated and inspired by this tension: To first design a collection of glasses and then a 1,000-metre-high skyscraper in northern Africa,” concludes the award-winning architect Elmar Gauggel.