This department store, which is very valuable from an architectural point of view, bears the inspired name Kaufhof an der Kö, and not only for Düsseldorfers. Built by architect Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867-1908) for the Tietz department store group of the time, this Art Nouveau building opened as a department store in 1909.
Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867 – † 1908 in Dusseldorf) was from Austria and was an architect (and designer) of the Vienna Secession. This association of visual artists gave rise to the so-called Viennese Art Nouveau, originally referred to as the Austrian Secession style. Before his time in Dusseldorf, Olbrich had built the Vienna Secession building in 1897/98.
After Olbrich won the competition for the building, he directed the construction work until his death in 1908, caused by leukemia; he did not live to see its completion in 1909. „Olbrich formed a decorative modernism for the inner and outer unity of the architecture and its details, marking the transition to functionalist art.“1
Sculptures on the exterior facade
The sculptures found on the facades were created by Johannes Knubel (1877 – † 1949 in Dusseldorf), who also created the gold-colored sculpture Pallas Athene, which was erected near the Tonhalle. Knubel worked not only with Olbrich, but also with the architect Wilhelm Kreis, who was responsible for the Ehrenhof area and the Tonhalle. Knubel lived from 1906 in a house built for himself at Wildenbruchstrasse 28 in Dusseldorf Oberkassel, which still stands today and has been entered in Dusseldorf’s list of protected monuments.
As part of the criminal removal of Jews from public life that took place during the Nazi dictatorship, it was purchased by Kaufhof Warenhaus AG in 1933. In 1943, the building was badly hit during an air raid; the original facades were restored in 1960. The building is located directly between the Breidenbacher Hof and the Steigenberger Parkhotel on Königsallee. Despite the structural annexation and changes in the interior, the building received an entry in the list of Dusseldorf’s listed buildings in 1985.
Kaufhof an der Kö, Königsallee 1-9, 40212 Düsseldorf
To see the image caption in English click on the circular infopictogram on the right below the enlarged photo.