Oldenburg 1905: Peter Behrens, first of all Tame Art Nouveau with geometry

The “Landes-Industrie- und Gewerbeausstellung” trade fair was the event of the year. The central area comprising the art gallery, fairground, pavilions and sculpture garden were designed by Peter Behrens.

The complex designed by Behrens, with its Art Gallery, open Music Pavilion at a sunken level, Cigar and Linoleum Pavilion on the central axis of the exhibition site.

His contemporaries saw a tall man carefully and aesthetically dressed, with a senatorial, dignified manner. His colleagues called him “Lattenpitter” (Slat Peter) in a reference to his whitepainted pergola structures. He was a painter, product designer, teacher and … “incidentally selftaught”.

Ad postcard with view of the building

In his arrangement of the Oldenburg buildings, he adopted a square for the ground plan and a rectangle for the elevations. The resulting formal composition was a system of black lines on grey render, an attempt to “tame Art Nouveau with geometry”. This contour style, appearing for the first time in this project, was to be a defining element of the commercial art developed in later years, especially the promotional materials, logo and designs for the Delmenhorst Ankermarke linoleum factory.

Linoleum Pavilion interior

A particular architectural detail was the double corner support – the recessed corner, echoing Schinkel’s Altes Museum and later a trademark of Behrens’s student, Mies van der Rohe. As early as 1904, Behrens became Artistic Adviser to the Anker-Linoleumwerke. The factory manager, Gustav Gericke, adopted the contemporary idea of reconciling the artistic with the industrial world (an approach that he later pursued as a member of the Werkbund Board). The results of this collaboration can be considered as a prelude to Behrens‘s appointment by AEG.

Origin: Bauwelt 34/07

Ankermarke wholesale pricelist