Photos: Guido Erbring, Cologne
This article appeared in colore #GraphiteGray
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When the Rüsselsheim Theater opened on 6 September 1969 following four years of construction, the Hessian town was transformed into a cultural attraction for those living in the Rhine-Main region. Over time, the building has developed into a place of encounter, cultural exchange and discourse. After almost 50 years of performances and around 2.5 million visitors, last year, it was finally time to modernize the prestigious foyer, in timeless tones of gray and purple, creating upholstery accents in the room.
I have a special relationship with colors, and I enjoyed harmonizing strong shades with the existing works of art.
Interior designer Monika Schäfers
Just in time for its 50th anniversary in 2019, the theater underwent careful renovation of its foyer. Monika Schäfers, interior designer and planner of monument preservation, was responsible for the work. The expert, who had previously renovated the magistrates' room for the city of Rüsselsheim, was destined for the project: “Among other things, my focus is on classic modernity. The architect at the time, Dietrich Hirsch, developed the theater design in the sense of this." The spatial concept was developed based on original designs and is very similar to the interior of the Berlin Philharmonic. This is no coincidence – the Berlin building was created by Hans Scharoun, who taught Dietrich Hirsch. "This closes the circle of architectural history," says the interior designer. Karin Krömer, Head of Culture and Theater, explains the decision behind the final version: "We were impressed by an authentic reconstruction of the foyer, as it was at the time, but enhanced with contemporary accents."
The focus was on color brilliance, an exclusive effect and easy care when selecting the high-quality coating material.
Technical Consultant Borris Gönner
This is what the concept looks like: With a timeless gray tone and color accents in the violet spectrum, an authentic ambiance was created that harmonizes with the large-format paintings by the Rüsselsheim artist Diether Ritzert. The artist had created these pieces on behalf of the city on the occasion of the theater’s grand opening. The new color concept was implemented on 400 square meters of wall space, 1,300 square meters of floor space, 760 meters of skirting boards and 340 running meters of stair guardrails. All of this was completed in a very short time. This was a challenge because 25 years ago, the theater foyer was designed with filling techniques which are no longer used today. In order to now give the walls a new coating, after minor repairs to the old plaster, an adhesion-promoting primer was required for the subsequently applied nonwoven.
An easy-to-apply, high-coverage, very brilliant color shade was chosen for the bold dark purple. The stairways and the wooden handrail have also been reworked. But first, the stair soffits and walkways had to be partially filled, repaired and painted with an emulsion paint. Another particular challenge was completing the large wall, which required a great deal of teamwork. The solar radiation and the resulting heat were so notable that the wet-in-wet technique was almost impossible. Work had to be carried out on this wall with the right number of employees before everything dried. The effort has paid off: The result is brilliant and now is the perfect framing for the art once more.
The operators have been very careful with the existing building structure. We also worked very well with construction management and the team.
Interior designer Monika Schäfers
The color shade depiction on the screen is not binding.
OBJECT | SITE Rüsselsheim Theater
BUILDER | USER Kultur123 Stadt Rüsselsheim
INTERIOR DESIGNER Monika Schäfers, Mainz
PROJECT MANAGEMENT Michael Veith, Head of Internal Services and Controlling Kultur123, Rüsselsheim
TECHNICAL CONSULTANT Borris Gönner, Brillux Wiesbaden
PAINTING OPERATORS RESPONSIBLE W. Birk Baudekoration GmbH, Mainz-Kastel