A show apartment by Amsterdam-based designer Kate Hume offers an early insight into what life might look like for residents of Hamburg’s much-anticipated Elbphilharmonie development.

The mixed-use building in the German city’s HafenCity harbour masterplan is nearing completion, following more than a decade of planning and construction.

Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron’s design uses an existing brick warehouse as a plinth, on top of which a glass structure with a crown-like roof soars to a height of 110 metres. Elbphilharmonie is intended as a landmark building for both the inhabitants of Hamburg and tourists arriving on cruise liners that berth at the nearby terminal, and contains a mix of public and private spaces.

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron
Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Forty-five luxury apartments occupy the glass-fronted western tip of the building, which will also accommodate a concert hall, several restaurants, and a hotel – all accessible from a 4000 sq m public plaza situated on top of the enormous brick volume.

Local developer Quantum is overseeing the delivery of the apartments and has been involved since the early stages of the project, when the bold design was met with scepticism by some of the city’s more conservative residents.

According to Quantum co-founder Frank Gerhard Schmidt, these initial concerns are gradually being allayed as construction approaches its final stages and the building’s aesthetic and cultural significance to the HafenCity redevelopment becomes more tangible.

‘Herzog & de Meuron did a great job of combining the existing industrial architecture with some modern ideas,’ the developer says. ‘They really gave this old warehouse a new life and created something that will become known all over the world.’

Quantum worked with Milan studio Citterio-Viel & Partners to develop the interior architecture of the residences, and invited Kate Hume to design the interior of the show apartment around the themes of water and music.

Illustration of the Grand Hall © Herzog & de Meuron
Illustration of the Grand Hall courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

The apartment’s completion offers the first opportunity to experience the surrounding views and unique spaces of the Elbphilharmonie. But for Schmidt, the first concert in the Grand Hall in January next year is the milestone he and the rest of Hamburg are most looking forward to.

‘It is important to remember that the Elbphilharmonie’s main function is as a concert hall and a new addition to Hamburg’s public realm,’ he adds. ‘The mixture of different uses means the building is open to everyone, which is crucial for a signature project such as this.’



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