Reconstruction and expansion of a sports store, incl. the façade concept — N5, 68161 Mannheim, Germany — 10,000 m² — 2013 — engelhorn KGaA

The power of sports

Here, everything is different. Ice picks as door handles? It's a clear statement: at engelhorn sports, everything involves authenticity, testing your mettle, and experience. The seven-storey building stands out as the backbone of Mannheim's Kapuzinerplanken neighbourhood. The breakdown into a two-storey base segment, a three-storey central section and a recessed roof level is a reference to engelhorn Mode im Quadrat. Glass as a construction material is ever present: by day, as a mixture of transparency and mirroring, by night as a shining object visible from afar.

The architecture is inspired by the power of sports, translating it with rough and reduced materials. Steel construction and technology are visible; illustrations bring particular sports, athletes and events into focus. Colours help with orientation and thematic associations. Materials from the sports world, such as rubber, or from nature, such as wood bridge these worlds, and in their variety also enhance individual staging of products. Two-storey "towers", which seem to grow through the respective ceilings at the ends of the spaces, symbolise the engelhorn umbrella brand.

Competence in perfection

The sales area of 10,000 square metres defines engelhorn as one of Europe's major sports retailers. Instinct for the most popular sports, a major selection of products – from equipment to sportswear and accessories – and attention to detail in the merchandise are what make engelhorn Sports the most competent and innovative retailer in its field. There's a kind of flair in the air; they've got the athlete's needs down pat. That is particularly true in the bike department in the lower level, which is not only a competence centre but also a meeting place for cyclists.

Another highlight: After entering the store, the visitor faces a 28-metre climbing wall. The unbroken view follows the wall up to the summit at the top storey. The mountain proclaims that this house and the items it sells need to be discovered and tested. Hence, it makes sense that the customer must circumvent the wall in order to reach the perpendicular escalators that connect these sports worlds.

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