Crouching panther inspires lustrous black office building for The Pachleitner Group
When jewellery and glasses designers The Pachleitner Group approached a number of high profile firms to compose plans for its new headquarters in Graz, Austria, inspirational photos were issued to influence the architects in their design direction. Images of cars, aeroplanes and ships were presented to ensure that the invited competitors shared the same vision as the client, however the winning entry was instigated by the image of a crouching black panther, ‘poised ready to spring’. This visualisation of strength and elegance hit a chord with The Pachleitner Group and GS architects were subsequently selected for the project.
Completed in summer 2010, the commercial building is sheathed in a black glass facade, its glossy coat ensuring that the external image sticks in the memory. One may henceforth draw a minor parallel between the new headquarters of The Pachleitner Group and the Foster+Partners/BDP-designed home of PricewaterhouseCoopers in More London, whose equally sleek black facade tapers into sharp edges and angular points.
GS architects explains: “It’s a hard shaped sculpture covered with a black glass facade erected over a concrete base developing from a compact tail to a head cantilevering towards the city. Accurate details and few colours in various surfaces and materials define the interior. Even the entire furniture collection was custom-made by the architects and is consequently congruent to the architecture.”
The project as a whole cost approximately €32m and sits on a triangular site in an area of Graz full of potential, therefore it is hoped that the new building will inspire others to invest in quality architecture in the area. The building site itself is in fact located directly on the Leibenau ring road, which provides a great opportunity for locals and visitors to view what is being touted as the city’s new gateway.