The fashion center Labels Berlin 2 is a concentration of showrooms for international fashion brands in one building including public spaces such as an event hall, a restaurant and a lounge at the top floor. The design strategy is based on the adjacent warehouse building Labels 1. The interior spaces of this historical building are strongly characterized by the repetition of arched windows used in the façade. This motif became one of the starting points for the design of the project.
The use of two differently cut sine curves generates a specific aesthetic for both the supporting structure and in a modified form with the sine waves for the façade. The result is that the structure and rhythm establish the formative motif for the perception of the new building and link it to the existing neighborhood.
Connected by a heat exchanging device, the whole concrete structure of the building is permeated with water tubes and used as a radiator for heating as well as for cooling. The energy consumption for heating and cooling of Labels 2 Berlin is reduced by 40% due to this combined technique of activating the building mass and using water from the Spree River. HHF architects won the international competition among selected architects in September 2007. The building opened in Spring 2010.
+ Project information courtesy HHF architects
Project description & Project
Apart from large trade fair exhibitions fashion firms take pride and pleasure in inviting their professional clients to small and personal presentations of the latest collection in so-called “showrooms”. Up to twelve times a year new creations are presented in such locations. The foundation for a truly prominent and exciting fashion headquarters on the Spree Riverfront was laid in 2006 by the establishment of Labels Berlin 1, accomplished through the renovation and reconstruction of a former warehouse.
In response to the large demand of the fashion industry for showroom space, Labels Projektmanagement GmbH & Co. KG conducted an external expert evaluation with an international architectural competition in the spring of 2007 for a new building Labels Berlin 2. In September 2007 the expert commission awarded first prize to the design by HHF architects recommending the project for execution.
Design Program, Concept and Construction
The new building Labels Berlin 2 is conceived to provide showroom space for approximately thirty different fashion labels. A large event area and small restaurant are located on the ground floor. The design concept of Labels Berlin 2 responds to the architecture of the adjacent Labels Berlin 1 building by using the arched window façade of this historic warehouse as a starting point and developing it further as the two different raking sinus curves of an impressive ornamental motif.
The load-bearing structure of the new building is constructed in exposed concrete. The system consists of supporting panels perforated by sinus curves that are positioned at intervals of 9.625m and establish the supporting structure around the entire façade. Statically this solution gives renters a very high degree of flexibility in subdividing and developing their own interior space – at the same time the load-bearing structure establishes an overriding spatial and iconographic element throughout the entire building. On the ground floor the width of the span of the supporting structure is greatly extended locally making it possible to create a space for events that is as free of columns as possible.
The pre-fabricated, painted-green concrete elements, which curtain the thermal façade and fan out towards the bottom, shade the underlying glazing and create an in between space that accommodates the exterior sunscreens, lighting fixtures, security cameras and other elements. The plumbing pipes are embedded in the exposed concrete. As thermo-active building components or system (TABS) the pipes serve to cool and heat the entire load-bearing structure and thereby make it possible to considerably save on energy consumption.
Access to the showrooms, event area and lounge on the roof are combined in a canopied entrance on the west side of the building. The restaurant is accessible from the Spree River side. Two cores contain elevators, emergency exit stairs, installation wells and plumbing facilities. A spatially compact spiral staircase out of steel, whose ground plan is defined by the same sinus curves as in the cutout form of the façade and load-bearing structure, connects the showrooms of the upper floors.
Ground Floor / Event Area and Restaurant
In addition to the central circulation area for the showrooms the ground floor houses a flexible, dynamically redefinable area for such events as fashion shows, receptions, concerts, etc. The restaurant is an independently redefinable and rentable entity that – like the event area – can be expanded in summer onto the adjacently located terrace. Deliveries to the catering kitchen are conducted directly from outside.
Upper Floors 1–4 / Showrooms
The showrooms are located on the upper floors 1 to 4. The partitioning walls between two rental units are geometrically independent of the load-bearing structure and can be freely positioned with few restrictions. All units are independently accessible through the cores and each has its own separate water and electrical connections. Proceeding from the hallway in the core area there is respectively one WC per floor – alternately for women or men – all of which are accessible to every renter.
The top floor is a steel construction erected on the concrete ceiling of the fourth floor and relates to other architectonic design principles of the rest of the building in order to preserve the unity of the main volume.
Differently sized aluminium-clad cubes and a wide overhang roof functionally accommodate a large terrace opening towards the Spree River.
The building has a partial basement that is only accessible via the eastern emergency exit staircase. The underground level is used exclusively for housing building technical facilities. A service opening for machines is located on the north side on the ground level of the new street called Hafenstrasse.
Development Options and Leasehold Improvements
Rental units are offered to the potential leaser as “unfinished” space and include exterior walls, partition walls between rental units, attic, electrical and plumbing connections, heating and access to delivery points. The completion of the showroom interiors is in the responsibility of the leaseholder.
+ About HHF architects
HHF architects was founded in 2003 by Tilo Herlach, Simon Hartmann and Simon Frommenwiler. Since then HHF architects has realised projects in Switzerland as well as internationally. The first international work ‘Baby Dragon’, a pavillion in the ‘Jinhua Architecture Park’ in China, has been followed by other further projects in China, the USA, Germany, Mexico and Italy.
In addition to building, teaching architecture is also an important part of the firm’s work. Simon Hartmann was associate assisting professor at the ETH Studio Basel, which is directed by Professors Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Roger Diener and Marcel Meili. Simon Frommenwiler was assistant to Professor Harry Gugger at the EPF in Lausanne. The HHF architects office itself was guest instructor at the UIA in Mexico City, at MIT in Boston and guest critic at numerous universities. Since 2009 Simon Hartmann has been Professor for Design at the College of Engineering and Architecture (HTA) in Fribourg, Switzerland.
+ Project credits / data
Project: High Fashion Exhibition Centre Labels Berlin 2
Competition and Construction: 2007, 1st Prize, 2007?–?2010
Building Footprint Area: 1’537 m2
Surrounding Site Improvements Area: 590 m2
Gross Floor Area: 8’191 m2
Useable Floor Area: 6’630 m2
Building Volume: 32’930 m3
Client: LABELS Projektmanagement GmbH & Co. KG
Architectural Design Concept: HHF architects
Team: HERLACH HARTMANN FROMMENWILER with Cella Hubel (Project Manager), Walter Gloor, Yujin Hirase, Janna Jessen, Tonja Kersting, Okhyun Kim
Location: Osthafen, Berlin, Germany
Copyright: HHF architekten GmbH
Project Management: Jasper Baumanagement GmbH
Structural Engineering: PPW D. Paulisch + Partner
HVAC (Heating, Venting, Air-Conditioning): Gneise 66
Photographs: Iwan Baan