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14.12.2015 - Ausgabe: 6/2015

Penguin-themed restaurant as a wellness oasis for tenants


The Spreewelten Bad (the Spreewelten Health Resort) in Lübbenau/Spreewald has been committed to the subject of penguins since 2008. Seventeen Humboldt penguins live in the complex’s outer habitat section. Separated by only a glass panel, they nosily swim alongside bathers. The question of how the penguins came to be in Spreewald was answered by Rügen storyteller Sebastian Lau in 2011 with a specially penned tale called “The Penguins’ Journey”. It tells the story of the little tuxedo-sporting birds from Tierra del Fuego as they make their way to the Spreewald to the Spreewelten health resort. They make all sorts of acquaintances on their travels with explorers and discoverers who later go on to become famous. According to the tale we owe thanks to the feathered birds for the invention of the light bulb, the telephone and for the presentation of the theory of evolution.

The penguin story has since served as the basis for the design of the Spreewelten health resort. 2012 also saw the concept realised in the ‘Baldura’ themed restaurant. Artist Arvid v. Oertzen, who also hails from Rügen, was responsible for the design of the restaurant. He not only created the sketches for the design of the restaurant, but also immortalised the penguins in picture form on the premises.

The unique design is evident from when you step foot inside the restaurant: Everything revolves around the ‘penguin’ theme. Wonderful mural paintings transport the guests to the boat or the island. Several of their stops on the trip around the world can be experienced directly. Firstly, through the artistically-captured paintings of the stops on their journey that adorn the walls and the counter. Secondly, through the customised layout of the restaurant. Thus, you can enjoy your food as it is delivered to the rocky seashore of Tierra del Fuego, or on board an old sailing boat. The very adventurous can dine in the hot air balloon basket. Drinks orders are placed using a penguin egg, which is then delivered to the counter by the Canyon River. The food almost becomes incidental in the grand scheme of things. The penguins feel the same, and can be seen exploring Spreewald from the boat.

The Spreewelten Bad, as a division of Spreewelten GmbH, is a 100% subsidiary of the WIS  Wohnungsbaugesellschaft im Spreewald mbH. The conversion work on the Baldura themed restaurant was overseen by WIS project management. Aside from the daily business of dealing with renovation and conversion measures, the department is also well versed when it comes to capital investment with special projects. An example of such a project was the conversion of a former hair salon in the foyer of the Spreewelten Bad into an unmistakable themed restaurant. The objective of the WIS group is to create something unusual that breaks the mould. Customers, guests and tenants should receive excellent value and be constantly amazed time and time again by their surroundings. It was against this backdrop that observations regarding the future of the former salon were made. There was never any possibility of a normal restaurant, which could easily be replaced in another location, being created.

“We generally pay close attention to the design of the surrounding area,” confides Michael Jakobs, Managing Director of WIS. “We know that when tenants feel good, they will stick with us,” added the Property Manager.

Flourishing outdoor areas, pleasant walkways, an idyllic duck pond, the adventurous jungle playground or the timeless play park ‒ the WIS residential buildings are embedded in thriving surroundings little by little. The lovingly designed outdoor areas help contribute towards more residential comfort and quality of life, as well as towards a holistic urban regeneration in Lübbenau/Spreewald. The housing provider is thinking outside the box in the process, and engages itself just as frequently in social projects. An example of this is the free and varied leisure time programme for children and young people that takes place six times a week and is provided by two teachers employed by the WIS itself. The giant jungle playground on its doorstep gives not only visitors to the children’s club a chance to play and climb, but all children in the surrounding, family-friendly Schweitzer Eck residential district. A comprehensive jungle gym has been created with various ascents and seating options, chain bridge, slide, trunks to balance on and to sit on, as well as an aerial cableway with pendulum seat. It also boasts a jungle castle structure, palm tree seats, stilt houses and tyre swings. The adventure playground equipment is made predominantly from wood. Rope, chains and rubber tyres are also used. The realisation of the playground was undertaken by the Laucha-based company spielart GmbH.

On the basis of good experiences gleaned from earlier projects, the playground equipment manufacturer was also engaged to realise the inner design of the Baldura event restaurant. Several artistic concepts by Arvid v. Oertzen were used as a template. The artist himself took charge of the walls design stage, which provided the basis and the framework for the realisation of the story in the restaurant. The next step was taken by an artificial rock manufacturer. He created craggy rocks analogous to the story, which served a dual purpose as scenery in the story and as a place to sit. Old relics such as skeletons or tracks in the rock formations appear to be there by pure chance to visitors. The same applies to the time tracks engraved in stone. The remainder of the interior design was realised by spielart GmbH. Special seating elements were produced based on the designs of the artist v. Oertzen. Wooden benches and tables with integrated glass cabinets displaying ancient relics were developed. The seats in the hot air balloon and the sailboat allow guests to immerse themselves fully in “The Penguins’ Journey” tale. With a little bit of imagination you can recreate the tuxedo-wearing adventurers’ journey. Both methods of transport have been recreated in great detail. Life-sized woodcarvings of the animals from the tale were also created: various penguins, a giant tortoise or the white sea lion.

The individual wooden elements are manufactured in advance in the spielart workshop in Laucha, with partial manufacturing taking place on site, too. Each item that is created is an absolute one-off piece, everything handcrafted.

The attention to detail helps transport visitors as part of the overall experience. An abridged version of the story on the menu at least reveals where the name ‘Baldura’ comes from. Whoever knows the story is better placed to recognise the individual fixtures and paintings in the restaurant. Whatever you imagine when reading through the tale will appear in Baldura.


Photo: spielart GmbH

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