The „Altes Hallenbad“ was indoor swimming baths located in a huge, old and beautiful Art Nouveau complex designed by the German architect Franz Sales Kuhn and built between 1903 and 1906 in the center of Heidelberg. After having been closed from 1981 to 2010 it finally got entirely renovated and partly reconstructed and has now opened as a sort of leisure center hosting restaurants, a hotel, bars, a club as well as a spa area and shops. The location of the former women’s swimming area, a lovely and precious space with a domed ceiling that is entirely covered with a geometrical 3-dimensional pattern was chosen to become the new club and bar named „Frauenbad“ which is the German word for a women’s bath.


The challenge was to design an interior that would not interfere with the historical space with its circular gallery offering a second level for people to enjoy the architecture with its overall height of 10 m. At the same time it had to act as a bar during the day and a club over night providing a warm and cozy atmosphere for the people to feel comfortable. In order to contrast with the coolish and clean feel of the building’s painted sandstone, solid oak was used to create the upper parts of the bar and the DJ stand in a way as if long and chunky beams had been irregularly stacked up, thereby picturing a rough and used look. The huge bar placed in the very middle of the space is modular and dividable into 9 single elements which can be combined and arranged in many ways for being adaptable to different events and situations. An armada of Heidi barstools complement the farming flavoured character of the bar, serving as a reference to the rural landscape named „Odenwald“ bordering Heidelberg easterly.


To be in line with the visual concept brown leathered sofa modules were chosen to fit the lounge areas below and on top of the gallery whereby the ones below are illuminated by copper Blow Lights hanging close to the wall and are thus creating a beautiful and atmospheric light cone on it. The intense blue-grayish color on the wall together with the precious terrazzo flooring, which symbolizes the former water basin, form an appropriate backdrop for the objects of the interior and create an appealing mood by day and by night. And please do not feed the pigs!


Client: Frauenbad UG

Typology: Hospitality
Year: 2012
Photo: Thilo Ross/