New complex for camera brand Leica opens in Germany

The grey skies matched the grey concrete buildings that form the Leitz Park complex in Wetzlar, Germany. ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
The balcony of Leica Camera AG building is modelled after the camera viewfinder (right) and the Ernst Leitz hotel operated by Arona Living has 129 rooms (left). ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
The Leica Galerie has several photo exhibitions currently on show. The Store, which carries an extensive range of Leica products, is located within the Galerie. ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

GERMANY - In the town of Wetzlar, about forty minutes' drive north of Frankfurt, Germany, stands the newly completed Leitz-Park III complex, built by Leica Camera AG.

The latest addition of four new buildings marks the culmination of over two years of construction which began in June 2016.

To celebrate the event, 1,200 guests and journalists were invited from all over the world to witness the inauguration and experience the campus for themselves.

Leica fans and avid photographers can now visit the new Leica Museum and shop, the Leica Akademie, Leica Galerie and store, dine at Cafe Leitz and rest for the night at the newly opened 129-room Ernst Leitz Hotel run by Arcona Living.

The premium camera brand has several photo exhibitions going on in conjunction with the opening to entice visitors.

Eyes Wide Open! 100 Years of Leica Photography is a touring collection of iconic images shot by famous Leica photographers and numerous exhibits from 100 years of 35 mm photography, currently on at the Leica museum until October this year.

The Leica Galerie has on its walls, photographs by renowned Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson who was awarded this year's Leica Hall of Fame Award for this lifetime's work.

There are three other exhibitions of photographs by Ray Barbee, an American skateboarder and musician; German photographer and designer, Tine Acke and Mathieu Bitton, a French photographer, director and producer. These run until August.

Besides photo exhibitions, Leica is also releasing a limited 'Leitzpark Edition' of selected camera models.

The Leica Q, the M-10 and the D-Lux will have special engravings on either its top or front of the cameras, with the first two models featuring a special leather trim. There are just 50 pieces of these three camera models available only at the Leica store in Wetzlar from today.

As if that isn't enough, Leica also launched another product which they are not usually associated with: Watches.

The limited edition Leica L1 and L2 are made-in-Germany mechanical timepieces with a starting price tag of €10,000 (S$15,700).

The watches are made by hand at Leica's new operations, the "Ernst Leitz Werkstätten" (Ernst Leitz Workshops), another of its four new buildings and will be available from Autumn this year in a few countries, including Singapore.

The park is open this weekend to the public from 10am to 6pm. There will be food, drinks and games on Sunday (June 17) and visitors can enter the buildings to experience the world of Leica.

This is an exciting time for Leica and photographers. The beautiful shapes of its grey, concrete, geometric buildings with clean lines and curves are congruent with modern German architecture style. The impressive complex, designed by Frankfurt architects Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburgalone is definitely worth a visit.

Leica's Leitz Park is located at Am Leitz Park 5, 35578 Wetzlar, Hesse, Germany.

How to get there:

From Frankfurt - Take an hour's train ride to Wetzlar railway station and from there, take bus no. 11, get off at Leitz Park or take a taxi.

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