The ceramic experience: two counters designed as miniature buildings

The project for the collective spaces of Das Minsk Kunsthaus in Potsdam, Germany, includes two counters clad with local ceramics and a particular design approach. 

This article was originally published on Domus 1076, February 2023.

Das Minsk Kunsthaus is the latest philanthropic adventure of Hasso Plattner, a communications engineer, patron and co-founder in 1972 of the SAP multinational. In Potsdam, Plattner has already contributed to refurbishing the Stadtschloss (2013) and to building the Museum Barberini (2017).

Das Minsk restores a restaurant from the 1970s in modernist style that was about to be demolished, introducing a programme focused on modern (in particular, East German) and contemporary art. The intervention by Linearama – Gabriele Molfetta and Selene Vacchelli with Valter Scelsi as consultant – concerns the collective spaces. 

The upper floor counter covered in ceramic
The upper floor counter covered in ceramic

The circa 350 square metres include two counters on two overlapping floors – in the foyer-reception and in the cafe – visually connected by a staircase. The architects explain that the two counters are intended as buildings “on a 1:24 scale typical of model-making”.

Their sides resemble facades in which the ceramics of the Dynamo series by HB-Werkstätten für Keramik, in black and shades of orange, are marked off by a metal grid. The production of the brand, founded in 1934 by ceramicist Hedwig Bollhagen, ties the design to the location, realising the desire of the designers “to make the future with materials from the past”. The design is rounded off by grit floors, with light-coloured seminato and metal inserts, echoed by the diagonal neon LED lighting elements.

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