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The Planck Lobby

Bismarck Hall in 1936 Zoom Image
Bismarck Hall in 1936

The lobby has borne Max Planck’s name since the renovation in 2014. Until then it was called the Bismarck Hall. The “Vereinigte Stahlwerke”, one of the world’s leading companies in the coal and steel industry during the 1920s, made a donation for the room’s interior décor and chose the name to pay tribute to Otto von Bismarck (1815 – 1898), the “Iron Chancellor” and the first German Chancellor of the Reich. A commemorative plaque for Bismarck and the donors’ plaque can still be found at the southern end of the room.

The lobby was used as a clubroom in the period after 1929. In 1936, the KWG installed a picture of Adolf Hitler above the fireplace, thus complying with the Nazi regime’s propaganda. After the confiscation of the house by the US Army, the room underwent major alteration with the attachment of the Wintergarten Hall. It had previously opened out onto the terrace with large folding doors.

As part of the renovation scheme, the room was renamed after Max Planck to pay tribute to the man who had lent his name to the Max Planck Society. The light installation above the fireplace wall alludes to Planck’s research on heat radiation. Deliberately arranged asymmetrically, it represents a counterpoint to the historicist furnishing of the room and its seemingly solid oak panelling. However, the breaking of the central axis also seeks to create an alternative design to the symbolic character of the room during the Nazi period. Sk

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