Functional Works of Art

As the solo elevator is hydraulic, very few components are needed in this glass overhead compartment; photo by Schindler.

David Chipperfield’s James-Simon-Galerie in Berlin features these classy-yet-essential Schindler elevators. As Fabian Peters wrote for STYLEPARK:

“The prominent placing of the elevator is a clear indication of its significance: The James-Simon-Galerie extends out over four levels that are open to the public. Moreover, stairs — both inside and out — are one of the building’s key design features. It is, therefore, only logical that the elevators should not be tucked away out of sight. And, it is just as natural that David Chipperfield should demonstrate the same precision in the design of the elevators as was brought to bear with the stairs. Four lifts in all provide access to the gallery: [a] solo elevator. . . ends in the portico, a double elevator in the center of the building and a large goods elevator that can be used, among other things, to transport exhibits to the room for temporary exhibitions in the basement.”

A team of some 40 Schindler engineers tasked to create customized solutions included an interior based on Chipperfield’s design: the solo elevator’s lower half is clad with planks of smoked oak with mirrors above. The ceiling, door interiors, handrails and fixture panel are made of burnished, waxed bronze. However, largely functional aspects shape the look of the car in the goods elevator. Here, the walls and ceilings are made of stainless steel with continuous wooden strips for impact protection. Also hydraulic, this lift can carry up to 6 T. and is spacious enough for large, bulky exhibits.

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