Redefining Stadtgarten's personality
European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music
April 4th, 2018
Via Stadtgarten: "The Park-Restaurant Stadtgarten was first opened in 1898 and is located within Cologne's oldest inner-city park Stadtgarten. After a colourful history, in 1985 the city of Cologne agreed to a long term lease contract with the Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus e.V., both for the park grounds and its building. Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus is an association of Cologne musicians, founded in 1978. Also in 1985 Stadtgarten Restaurant Betriebs GmbH was founded, and reopened the restaurant after its renovation. [...]
On September 4th 1986, the concert hall was opened and in 1997 Studio 672 [former Schmuck-Kästchen] was reopened in its basement. Today the entire venue hosts up to 400 concerts per year.
In 2016, Stadtgarten received the Venue of the Year award by the German government as part of their the venue programming award Applaus. In 2018, the venue was transformed into the European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music with support from the state of North-Rhine Westphalia and the City of Cologne."
Reiner Michalke, program director for the renowned Stadtgarten venue, hired me to support their executive team to reposition the Stadtgarten identity. Over the course of one year I led the team to reflect and brainstorm on the uniqueness of their concert hall, club, and restaurant. We also started a concentrated research into the different audiences to understand their values and interests.
This process finally resulted in a precise design briefing, which Reiner Michalke used to call a pitch for Stadtgarten's new corporate design. Cologne based designer Christian Schäfer won and created a striking visual identity, which is praised throughout the community and widely recognized.
The Stadtgarten team was one of the most engaged, and inspired clients I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And it is quite wonderful to see how they achieved a complete repositioning of this much loved venue. The endeavor of carefully refacing an identity is always quite a challenge, and achieving it in a group is even harder but if you succeed, you win on all levels.