The storytelling takes the architecture and the time, in which this spectacular rotunda, the administrative centre of the Gerling insurance group was built, as a starting point, transforming the monument into a visionary rotational body, resembling a station floating in outer space.
In 1958, during the time of the „Wirtschaftswunder“, positive utopias and the belief in technological progress were ubiquitous. Life on the moon, on mars or on space platforms, seemed to be close and the goal of human evolution appeared to lie in a fully engineered future.
It was not before the oil crisis of 1973 and the Club of Rome’s report on the „limits of growth“ that the awareness of the resources limitations, the instability of the ecological equilibrium and the restrictions of terrestrial existence grew. The naive but visionary dreams and utopias from the fifties and sixties gave way to new, less optimistic imaginations of future dystopias.
The STUDIO AISSLINGER storytelling team let itself be fascinated by this faith into the future so characteristic of the West German society during the first decades of the Bonn Republic. Ideas, materials and colours from this period, in which everything seemed to be possible, in which visions of flying cars and imaginative space stations were staff of life, developed into the theme of „retro-futurism“ guiding conceptually the design of the new 25hours Hotel „The Circle“ in cologne. The name thereby refers not only to the building’s circular floor plan but alludes also to Dave Eggers novel „The Circle“, an imagination of the future, in which the liberating possibilities of social media revert to total surveillance and control. This ambivalence is played with in all the concrete design decisions and turns the whole building into a hall of mirrors, in which right and wrong, good and bad reflect each other.