2012 Best of Year Awards: Cafeteria

PROJECT NAME Der Spiegel Canteen
FIRM Ippolito Fleitz Group
SQ. FT. 5,700 SQF

When Der Spiegel magazine and its stable of sister publications relocated, they left behind a beloved 1969 cafeteria by Verner Panton.


How to evoke that mod masterpiece without simply knocking it off at the new 5,700-square-foot location? Whiplash lines in the white terrazzo floor help define circulation zones. However, Ippolito Fleitz Group decided that, to keep the canteen flexible on the ground, the ceiling should be a showstopper.


The word spiegel means “looking glass,” so it’s somehow logical, in an Alice in Wonderland way, that 4,230 round reflectors hang overhead. But instead of glass, the shimmering mirror discs are micro-perforated aluminum—satin polished, backed with acoustical material, and dangling jauntily from the black-painted ceiling. The discs bounce daylight a bit like the surface of water in the nearby harbor does. To continue the nautical metaphor in a smaller room off the main space, a “shoal” of illuminated hanging acrylic rods drops through the discs for intimate, glare-free sparkle.


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