The new corporate headquarters of Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar. (Images: Ralf A. Niggemann)
The new corporate headquarters of Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar. (Images: Ralf A. Niggemann)

Leica Camera

Full Circle

After two years of construction, the new corporate headquarters of Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar is scheduled to open officially in May. With the new building, the brand with the red dot has come full circle. At the same time, itís a look back into the future.

Everyone turned up for the ground-breaking ceremony in April 2012: the political representatives of the town and state and naturally the entire Leica Camera management. The promise made on this day in connection with the vision of the Leitz Park sounded auspicious. Nearly two years later, the vision has now become architectural reality and might as well surpass all expectations.

A signal for the future

The company’s return to its birthplace of Wetzlar a hundred years after the first Leitz camera was produced is not only a tribute to tradition, but even more a “signal for the future”, as Art Director Karin Rehn-Kaufmann put it. As the representative of the Leitz Park investor and general manager of Leica Galleries International, she was closely involved in the planning and construction of these new corporate headquarters, this “matter close to our heart”. Besides the new corporate headquarters, the planning comprises a Leica museum, a Leica gallery, a Leica store, a photo studio and a restaurant. Substantial parts of the future headquarters will be accessible to visitors and customers, allowing them unique insights into the history of Leica Camera AG, its products and the work of Leica photographers. It is a “world of photographic culture, past, present and future, and the Leica products closely associated with it,” as the company had announced.

Past, present and future – by returning to Wetzlar, Leica Camera has come full circle historically and this is reflected in the architecture, too: the circle is the basic theme connecting the parts of the building, the curved façades and even the grounds. A central plaza creates a binding element and connection to the affiliated Weller Feintechnik GmbH and ViaOptic GmbH facilities already located in the Leitz Park. The entrance to the new headquarters of Leica Camera AG is approached via a wide curving flight of steps. You feel invited, not turned away. “The last thing we wanted to do was to erect a fortress here at the Leitz Park,” says Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG. “We are a modern and open company and wanted our new headquarters to emanate this spirit.”

Leica outside, Leica inside

Self-assured without taking itself too seriously – the look of the new building is fully in line with the understatement of the company’s corporate identity and brand. What you see is what you get, whether it’s a high-end product or the company headquarters. With an area of around 27,000 m² (approximately 290,625 sq.ft.) the complex accommodates the production, administration and customer service departments. Energy is supplied by two combined heat and power systems, a geothermal plant for heating and air-conditioning and a photovoltaic installation on the roof. The new production hall is equipped with state-of-the-art production facilities, as can be seen from outside: the ground floor of the southern façade is fully glazed, windows behind afford a view of the production department.

The further the construction work progressed, the more the promise turned into pleasant anticipation. “We are immensely looking forward to moving into the new building. And I think I can speak for the whole workforce in saying so,” Dr. Andreas Kaufmann remarks. Boxes are still being packed, equipment assembled and workplaces set up. The finishing touches are being applied to the interior and exterior of the building. The waiting will finally be over in May, when the new corporate headquarters of Leica Camera AG will be officially opened – with guests invited from all over the world, together with the workforce. There will also be an open day for all interested members of the public. Leica Camera will be back in Wetzlar at last – and the company’s history will have come full circle.


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