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Optimisation of the exhibition rooms and service facilities on the ground floor of the Alte Pinakothek
Early German paintings. Ground floor. Photo: Haydar Koyupinar © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

MUNICH.- The recently completed optimisation of the exhibition rooms and service facilities on the ground floor of the Alte Pinakothek was successfully put to the test by the throngs of visitors during the first few days of the New Year.

Since the opening of the exhibition ‘Florence and its Painters’ on 17 October 2018, the Alte Pinakothek has been able to offer its visitors a state-of-the-art welcome. The spacious foyer has been renovated in keeping with its listed building status and refurnished, along with the cloakrooms and locker area. The lounge next to the shop and the newly designed ‘Café Klenze’ provide spaces to relax and unwind. On top of these, an Art Education room has been established for the first time. The sequence of exhibition rooms has been rearranged and technologically upgraded in part, resulting in a much larger and functionally more flexible temporary exhibition space in the western section of the building, fully accessible to visitors with disabilities. The tour of the permanent exhibition in the ‘Lower Gallery’ now begins at the eastern end of the building with the small Brueghel exhibition rooms, leading through to Early German Painting in the rooms at the ‘Klenzeportal’.

The re-design, planned by Sunder-Plassmann Architekten (Kappeln/Berlin) and carried out in less than one year while the museum continued to remain open, has expanded the number of possibilities for utilising the space and improved the function of the ground floor rooms for Visitor Services in particular. In addition, bearing the building’s historical status in mind, these measures entailed a detailed review and upgrading of Hans Döllgast’s sensitive reconstruction of the Alte Pinakothek after World War II, particularly with respect to the large entrance hall and the café. Through the lighting concept devised by Peter Andres Lichtplanung (Hamburg) and the new furnishings, among other changes, it has been possible to reveal Döllgast’s handwriting even more clearly than before.

Without drawing attention to itself in any way, the lighting designed especially for the foyer provides a perfect stage set for the high-ceilinged hall with its washed walls and the light-coloured Jura limestone, as well as – and not least of all – for visitors’ comings and goings. The central, smoked-oak desk accommodates all the functions required for cash registers, information and audioguide rental. Four seating islands provide extensive space for visitors to linger and relax. In addition to the new lighting, the reserved elegance of the revised signage throughout the museum – using a typography based on a design by Hans Döllgast – provides a better orientation for visitors.

A trio of materials – natural oak, brass and soft leather – define the café’s updated appearance. The light, very distinctly shaped furniture – chairs with arms and square tables, as well as sofa benches along the walls and in the window recesses – harmonise naturally with the architectural division of the space and underline the light-filled expanse. The Art Education room located before reaching the small Brueghel exhibition rooms, is dominated by a massive table of smoked oak and matching cuboid stools, and offers plenty of space to larger groups for discussions or configurating as required. The new cloakroom for schoolchildren and groups in the entrance area to the ‘Lower Gallery’ includes large, lockable sliding cupboards and lockers for bags.

Switching the temporary and permanent exhibition spaces from east to west facilitates the tour of the building and opens up an area better suited to temporary exhibitions with regard to size, flexibility and functionality which is equipped with an optimised wall structure, a new lighting system and enhanced security technology.

The implementation of these measures is also thanks to the continuous commitment of the friends and patrons of the Pinakothek Museums. The re-design of the exhibition rooms was made possible by the following benefactors: the Dr. Helmut Röschinger Stiftung, Elisabeth and Stanislaus zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Fritz Schäfer, the Herbert Schuchardt-Stiftung and the BMW Group. The renovation of the listed foyer was sponsored by the Wüstenrot Stiftung and the Mooseder Stiftung. The furnishing of the schoolchildren’s cloakroom and the Art Education room was funded by the Beisheim Stiftung.

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