Collage © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
Here I am an architect – if anywhere, then here!
by Daniel von Bernstorff
Nov 9, 2012

The new Stuttgart trade fair complex: Hall 9 has been immersed in black. In long aisles, in-floor lighting marks the entrance to the respective manufacturer presentations. Like a spaceship, “Cosmo”, a luminaire by Cologne-based design agency “Next”, floats above the lounge. The aisles are dotted with tables for standing or sitting like little islands, promoting communication. Plan+B presents a small but good exhibition on the subject focus of the trade fair, “clay”, and some wonderful photography work by DAPh. On one side of the hall you find a presentation of competition designs for a project by the Stuttgart State Academy for Art and Design in collaboration with Duravit and also a small library and seminar room.

The whole scene can be described using two words: subtle and composed. The overall appearance is free of huge trade-fair stands or expansive installations. It is the exhibitors’ products and systems and the needs of the architects that take center stage here. One could call it a match made in heaven. Now a hit in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany, and soon to arrive in the UK, Switzerland and Italy, the secret behind Architect@Work’s success is its clear, firm focus on the essential. In each country, an advisory body is formed to monitor the quality of the exhibitors and the products they present, which must not have been on the market for more than two years and must also hold some kind of innovative value for the architects and planners. This allows the architects to gain an extensive overview of all relevant products and themes in construction and planning in the space of just a few hours – something that is simply not possible at the traditional, large and sprawling construction trade fairs.

The list of exhibitors at the Architect@Work is extensive yet moderate, and offers great variety. Renowned players such as Schüco, Dorma, Velux, Corian, Sto and co. can be found alongside smaller, less-established companies such as Akustik+Raum, Petersen Ziegel, Cembrit or di Legno. From façades to lighting systems, from carpets to metal ceilings, from doorknobs to innovative LED wallpaper – all the major areas have their place here, on equal footing and of equally high quality. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Whether you attended the event or, a fortiori, if you could not make it to Stuttgart, you can access Stylepark’s “Online Showroom”, which gives an overview of the presented products and systems:

Next year, Architect@Work will be hosted in London (January), Zurich (May) and Berlin (October) for the first time. Furthermore, the third German edition will be taking place in Düsseldorf (December).

The exposition “Thin-Ker” by Plan+B is dedicated entirely to the material clay, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
The aisles of the Architect@Work are equipped with tables for standing or seating to improve communication, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Numerous exhibits demonstrate the historical development of the material, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Thanks to modern manufacturing processes, clay can be transformed into ceramic tiles like these, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Sattler Objeklicht morphs a wall into a light sculpture, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Surface by DuPont™ Corian®, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Tiles in various colors and patterns at Villeroy & Boch’s stand, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
The ring and scale mesh products by proMesh offer various design and usage options, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Ceramiche Refin presented a selection of their ceramic tile range, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Once a year, five architects receive the “Global Award for Sustainable Architecture” during the Architect@Work, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
The futuristic “Cosmo” light by Next floates above the heads of visitors of the lounge area, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
RZB demonstrated the production process of its “Ring of Fire” lamp at their booth, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Danish manufacturer Petersen Tegl presented some of its brick products in Stuttgart, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Metal fittings by German manufacturer Simonswerk, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
These windows by Velux seem to float, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
At this year’s Architect@Work, Caparol presented new decor and coating materials, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Flooring options in different colors and materials at the presentation stand of Objectfloor, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
What can be made out of steel was demonstrated by Wickeder Westfalenstahl, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Slate tiles at the presentation stand of Rathscheck Schiefer, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
The exposition “Thin-Ker” by Plan+B is dedicated entirely to the material clay, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark1
The exposition “Thin-Ker” by Plan+B is dedicated entirely to the material clay, photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark2