May 15–Oct 20, 2024

True to Scale

The History of C&A Stores in Model and Image
Georgstraße 18, 49497 Mettingen
Wed–Sun 11 am–5 pm

The Draiflessen Collection includes roughly 100 architectural models of C&A department stores. For the most part, these models come from the Nattler architecture company in Essen, formerly E. A. Gärtner / R. Stiens. Since the 1950s, in the course of decades of collaboration between C&A and the company’s Essen office, over 170 department stores were designed and built; to date, these stores have been renovated several times and already repurposed or demolished in some instances. In addition to this extraordinarily large inventory of models, our company archive has many photographs and documents related to particular locations.

This means that there are many stories about the buildings that have left their mark on German city centers for generations. Above all, however, it is the architectural models themselves that are fascinating—miniature worlds with a distinctive character of their own. While they were originally a means of visualizing a possible built future, they are now presented in the DAS Forum as perfect examples and historical evidence of an architectural scene that no longer exists in this form.

The exhibition in DAS Forum shows that the architectural model is far more than a mere working tool—it is both a design for the future and an artifact of times gone by.