Carmen Würth Forum, Künzelsau

Businessman Würth builds an architectural monument to his wife

Meeting his wife Carmen was one of the most important events, if not the most important event in the life of Reinhold Würth. This is presumably the thought behind the Carmen Würth Forum, which architecturally embodies the idea of personal encounter. With the art and culture centre designed by English star architect David Chipperfield, the German-Austrian businessman Würth has erected an impressive monument to his wife – attractively illuminated by BEGA luminaires.

On 18th July 2017, the 80th birthday of its namesake, the Carmen Würth Forum was officially opened on the premises of the Würth Group in Künzelsau, Baden Württemberg, following a build time of 18 months. BEGA luminaires guide visitors and light the way to the building complex from the moment they arrive. Shielded BEGA bollards are installed along the footpaths, leading through the hilly landscape to the Forum at its crown. With their high degree of illuminance and wide-beam light distribution, they light the path and provide structure as they illuminate the lawns, footpaths and omnipresent sculptures. Both around the building and in the sculpture garden, there are numerous works by renowned artists such as Niki de Saint Phalle or Tony Cragg. The Carmen Würth Forum also houses a multifunctional event hall for up to 2500 visitors – although the artwork provides an early hint that the design is far more than a functional one. In particular, a sculpture of two tightly intertwined people, placed in front of one of the two tamped concrete walls that form the inviting courtyard of the building, functions as a symbol of personal encounter. From the foot of the wall, linear BEGA in-ground luminaires with asymmetrical light distribution subtly light the facades. The sculpture and its harmonious pose appear like a shadow, welcoming visitors as they approach.

In the roofed area connecting the Carmen Würth Forum and the Museum Würth 2, BEGA recessed ceiling downlights with symmetrical light distribution and effect-maximising BEGA hybrid optics accentuate the functional, pared-down elegance of the architecture. Architecturally, the pillars supporting the roof structure are reminiscent of the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach am Neckar. That is no coincidence: it too is designed by the architect Chipperfield and illuminated by BEGA luminaires.

In 2017, the Carmen Würth Forum was awarded the Hugo Häring Prize by the Association of German Architects BDA Baden-Württemberg. David Chipperfield himself described it as a “symbol for the meeting of people” and “an emblem of the entrepreneurial desire to fulfil more than just commercial demands”. The impressive embodiment of this idea in the architecture is not only worthy of his client, Würth, but his client’s wife too. For her, meeting different people is and has always been a matter close to her heart. As the patron of various social initiatives, such as the integration of disabled people in society, she has won awards including the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Carmen Würth Forum, illuminated by BEGA lighting, is a further acknowledgement of her life’s work.