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PANEUM – CLOUD SHIP, EXHIBITION AND FORUM FOR THE FUTURE BACKALDRIN OPENS NEW “WUNDERKAMMER DES BROTES”

In 2015 backaldrin laid the foundation for a unique project around the topic of bread. On 5 October 2017, the PANEUM – Wunderkammer des Brotes will be opened. The PANEUM serves as a customer and event forum, where the future of bread can be discussed and contemplated. The comprehensive exhibition of 1200 objects from 9000 years is open to the public. The architectural concept and planning are the work of renowned architect Wolf D. Prix of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU.

“The PANEUM is intended to show visitors the influence and importance of bread through the epochs of human history and to this day,” says the founder of the PANEUM, backaldrin owner Peter Augendopler. Born into a family of bakers, and a trained baker himself, he has been at home in the world of bread not only since his childhood but also professionally since the founding of backaldrin. International growth has led the family business to more than 100 countries, where Peter Augendopler and backaldrin have come to know countless bakery businesses and diverse bread cultures. Also based on this entrepreneurial spirit and the passion for bread, the backaldrin collection has been brought together over the past 30 years. Bread is the mainstay of what is today a collection of more than 15,000 arts and cultural objects, including Egyptian grain mummies and toy cars, Peruvian totem poles and Meissen Porcelain, as well as Chinese granaries, guild equipment, paintings and thousands of books.

“Worldwide, only a few institutions take on the wonderful topic of bread; in Austria there is almost nothing,” says Peter Augendopler, before adding, “That’s why we’re doing it.” The PANEUM, with the Wunderkammer des Brotes, is open to all visitors. “This decision was only made during the realisation of the project,” explains the founder of the PANEUM. “We wanted to bring the importance of bread closer to our customers and the professional world, as well as to the general public.” The consumers and bread lovers, who also consume bread and rolls with ideas and raw materials from backaldrin should be able to experience bread in a new way. In this sense, the PANEUM is a place that celebrates bread and brings its history to life.

Investing in the future
At the same time, the PANEUM is a place where the past and future of bread can be discussed, researched and contemplated. backaldrin develops innovative bread ideas and offers the bakery sector raw materials and customised services. “Working with the history of bakery and being open to bread cultures around the world are driving forces and sources of inspiration,” says Peter Augendopler. “The PANEUM is, therefore, a significant investment in the future.” But there is still a further reason. Every year backaldrin hosts thousands of bakers, confectioners and other trade visitors from all over the world. “Maintaining the partnerships with our customers and professional in-house exchange are gaining in importance in our industry,” says the project initiator. With the PANEUM, he wants to create a modern forum for professionals, which is also expressed in pioneering architecture. “It cannot be otherwise,” says Augendopler. “When something has as long a tradition as bread, it must be presented in a modern way. This shows that the profession of baker is today a highly modern one.”

Cloud ship and Noah’s Ark
The building in Upper Austrian Asten bears the unmistakable signature of Wolf D. Prix. He is Design Principal and CEO of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, one of the most renowned architectural offices in the world. For the creator, the form is “a cloud ship”. This idea came to him in conversation with the client: “His passionate portrayal reminded me of a type of Noah’s Ark, intended to save valuable objects for another world.”

The rectangular base building forms the foundation of the PANEUM and contains the customer information centre and event forum for up to 120 guests. The “Wunderkammer des Brotes” – the exhibition in the “cloud ship” – is accessed via a spiral, cantilevered staircase. The first wooden building in free form was meticulously planned by COOP HIMMELB(L)AU. Through the help of 3D CNC technology, the cantilevered cloud ship is made up of prefabricated, interlocked wooden components with millimetre precision. Reminiscent of a giant Lego game, this technique guarantees building efficiency, shorter construction times and a fascinating result. It is also a step into the future of construction. As Wolf D. Prix says, “3D plotting, milling and building with robots – that is the future of building.” 

Opening minds and mouths
With the PANEUM, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU has created a unique space for bread and its history. To do the presentation of the exhibition justice, the architects and exhibition designers worked together hand in hand. “The exhibition in the PANEUM was modelled on the concept of the Wunderkammer,” explain Uli Prugger and Alfonso Demetz from GRUPPE GUT in South Tyrol, who were responsible for the exhibition concept and design. The idea of the Wunderkammer originated in 16th century Italy as “gabinetto delle curiosità” or “mirabilia”. The Wunderkammer displayed rarities and curiosities, often with nothing more in common than the person collecting them. It was about the perspective that the collector had, the knowledge he displayed and the stories he told about the objects.

It is, thus, not strictly scientific criteria, but colourfulness and a unique blend that distinguish the collection. Uli Prugger and Alfonso Demetz: “In the presentation of the themes and exhibits, we focus on a mixture of discovery and information, amazement and job-related knowledge. The result is an element of surprise, opening not only mouths but also minds.” The PANEUM, therefore, stands in the tradition of the classic Wunderkammer, dedicated to a feeling that is so deep it burns in the heart and in the mind – the feeling of wonder.

Wonder – when it comes to making the significance of bread experiential, tangible and comprehensible, this is a ball PANEUM Founder Peter Augendopler is happy to run with: “If we get people to think about bread, we have achieved everything we wanted.”