Brand worlds as a synthesis of the arts

Enabling customers and employees to experience the core of a brand: Corporate buildings and presentations are good for more than just image promotion.

The demands and expectations made of brand and product presentation have changed and become more sophisticated. Just as art lovers no longer go to a museum just to see rows of exhibits, customers today expect more than just products put on show. Complex three-dimensional staging is not only to be found in temporary trade fair, exhibition and event architecture but also in the permanent architecture of companies. Brand worlds form the spatial framework for a voyage of discovery to the company and its products. The quest for identity and unmistakeability is a challenge to be met more by inspiration than excitement. The consumer goods industry, particularly, makes use of complex structures that invite the customer to experience the brand values and lifestyle associated them. The sum of corporate and design achievements assumes urban dimensions and can be defined as an architectural Gesamtkunstwerk or synthesis of the arts.
"The tendency towards the Gesamtkunstwerk" was the title of a review of European Utopias since 1800, shown in the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1983. Bazon Brock defined this term for the exhibition: "We term a work a Gesamtkunstwerk when individuals devise a mental construct of higher-level associations in the form of a pictorial or epic presentation or as a scientific system or as a utopia." This is based on the recognition that individual perception also stimulates all other senses and intellectual capabilities. The formulation of higher-level strategies ideally embraces all corporate areas, from the products, the production methods, to the production facilities. This could cover everything "from sofa cushions to town planning", as architect Hermann Muthesius put it as early as 1908 when discussing the Deutsche Werkstätten location in Hellerau near Dresden.
The creation of uniquely identifiable and atmospherically charged scenarios has remained one of the most effective methods of differentiation from the competition. Next to the spectacular stages of the car industry, companies from all lines of business are using architectural identity to stake their claim on the global market. The basis for the credible conversion of brand values into brand worlds is knowledge of one's own company heritage and the central objectives to be communicated and manifested. Brand worlds can be more than just image promotion. With excellent architecture, they enable the core and the success of a brand to be experienced both by the customers on the outside and by the company itself and its employees.
One example of the consistent development of a traditional location into a modern brand world with urban planning dimensions is the corporate headquarters of the adidas group. "The World of Sports is the perfect location for the corporate headquarters of the adidas group. It connects to the great legacy of the company's founder Adi Dassler, sets new architectural standards and, with its numerous sports and park facilities, provides a unique working and living environment for our young international workforce", explains chairman of the board Herbert Hainer.
The site designed as a campus extends over 114 ha on the grounds of a former US army post near Herzogenaurach, where the company was founded. The decision to transform the empty Herzo Base shows the company's commitment to Germany as a business location and to its existing workforce, who have made a significant contribution to German economic history. In 1999, a master plan was drawn up that divides the grounds into four worlds: the World of Sports as the corporate headquarters, the World of Living as living quarters, the World of Commerce as a location for commerce and the Public World with public facilities. With the completion of the Factory Outlet Store in 2003, the company has entered directly into contact with its customers. The latest link in a chain of remarkable buildings is the Adi Dassler Brand Center, which opened in April 2006. The exhibition building offers as an in-house trade fair a platform for the seasonally varying presentation of products for international key accounts.
Jons Messedat

m+a report Nr.8 / 2006 vom 08.12.2006
m+a report vom 8. Dezember 2006