Leica Camera AG opens the new Leitz-Park complex in Wetzlar. A unique complex has now been completed that unites spectacular architecture with cultural highlights and the development of pioneering technologies.
“The new Leitz-Park constitutes a leading centre of the optical industry. Here, research, art and culture enter into a symbiosis that will attract photo enthusiasts from around the world. Providing a total of around 1,200 jobs, the entire site makes an important contribution to the region in many ways and will bring significant benefits for the City of Wetzlar and the tourist industry,” explains Dr Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Leica Camera AG.
The new site is home to four building complexes, one of which is the recently opened arcona Living Ernst Leitz Hotel, which offers 129 rooms, apartments and suites and an interior architecture and design concept that reflects numerous aspects of photography. In all, more than 250 works by more than 60 photographers can currently be seen in the hotel. Immediately adjacent to the hotel is the new Leica building, which contains the museum, the archives, a photo studio, a Leica Store and the museum shop. The museum will be an important element of the Leitz-Park concept, and, in the future, will present and illustrate the entire history of Leica – from microscopes and cameras to sport optics products.
The anniversary exhibition, ‘Eyes wide open! 100 years of Leica photography’, will be making a guest appearance at the opening and presenting impressive images by acclaimed Leica photographers together with numerous exhibits from 100 years of 35 mm photography.
The concept for the overall complex was developed and realised by the Frankfurt architects Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg, who have created an ultra-modern working environment and visitor experience in which research and development, production, and science meet culture, gastronomy and living in harmonious unity. The architectural concept of the final phase of the Leitz-Park complex distances itself from the round and rectangular forms of the existing buildings, and owes much more to the architectural style of the Italian renaissance.
The new Leica Store will be showing three photographic projects, including, for example pictures shot by star skateboarder and jazz musician Ray Barbee. In addition, visitors will be able to see pictures from Tine Acke’s photo book titled ‘Udo Lindenberg. Stärker als die Zeit – Die Stadion-Tour’ and black-and-white images from the project ‘Darker Than Blue’ by Mathieu Bitton, which reflect the harsh everyday world of Afro-American citizens in a life between hope and rebellion. A further exhibition, featuring, amongst other photographs, the work of Michael Agel, can be seen in the outdoor area. The focal point of this exhibition is the LeitzPark complex and its history from the beginnings to its completion.