As a writer, it’s always been kind of gratifying to see that most other editors (and other professionals!) are passionate about one tool: our pens. That is not to say that these precious commodities have to be expensive. There was a time when I would not be caught anywhere without a simple stick ballpoint pen from MUJI. (Heck, I’ve woken up to find them in my bed.) I’ve known others to be just as devoted to everything from a Sharpie to a Tiffany Elsa Peretti ballpoint. These days, though, between using Apple Pencils with our iPads, or just forgoing writing altogether to tap out notes on our phones, sometimes we lose sight of the art of slowing down and paying attention to our handwriting.
That’s why it’s nice to see that the luxury accessories house Montblanc, best known for its stylish pens, has opened Montblanc Haus, an immersive brand experience that brings to life the brand’s belief in the value of writing. Located next to the company headquarters and manufacturing center in Hamburg, Germany, the building was designed by Nieto Sobejanos Arquitectos and inspired by Montblanc’s heritage: an homage to the historical shape of the Meisterstück writing instrument packaging. The brand museum tells the story of Montblanc from its founding days to the present, of the people who craft Montblanc’s writing instruments, and of those who have used them to share their imprint on humanity. The space occupies three levels and nearly 40,000 square feet, providing an immersive brand experience.
“We envisioned creating a special home for the art of writing, a place where people could discover or rediscover the incredible power of handwriting and the creativity, imagination, and emotion it unlocks in everyone. Montblanc Haus was conceived as a journey of discovery, told through the eyes of a company that has been at the heart of the culture of writing for over 115 years. It is our hope that Montblanc Haus becomes a meaningful landmark for Hamburg, a city that is so important to the history and identity of Montblanc, and for local communities and faraway visitors to discover and enjoy says Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc CEO.
Under the banner of Montblanc’s brand purpose to Inspire Writing, the permanent exhibition at Montblanc Haus invites visitors to explore different themes:
- The Pulse of Writing is an immersive experience that highlights the power and value of writing.
- Montblanc’s Legacy and Vision tells the story of the Maison and its icon the Meisterstück.
- Handwriting from around the World spotlights different types of handwriting translated into artwork.
- Craftsmanship and Innovation showcases the know-how of the brand’s writing instrument creation and production.
- Montblanc Collections explores different collections including Limited Editions and the exclusive High Artistry pieces
- The Mark Making space is dedicated to visitors and to those who have left their mark, featuring an Autograph Library with 30 original handwritten notes from Ernest Hemmingway and Albert Einstein, to Frida Kahlo and Spike Lee combined with a digital guestbook experience for visitors to leave their own mark.
“The Montblanc Haus has allowed us to uncover some treasures from our archive that we are eager to share with the world. This experience is not only dedicated to all the incredible stories that have been written over time including our very own, but to all the great stories that are yet to be written, as we invite our visitors to be inspired to leave their mark”, adds Vincent Montalescot, Montblanc EVP Marketing.
Throughout Montblanc Haus, visitors are invited to experience the wonder of writing by hand in a very personal way. They can test Montblanc writing instruments and send postcards with their thoughts around the globe. Montblanc Haus offers a series of classes in its Writing Atelier to visitors including the art of calligraphy, creative writing, and kids’ classes. Furthermore, as part of its commitment to the culture of writing, Montblanc will host special classes dedicated to disadvantaged children and young adults to inspire them to use writing to their advantage, to express themselves creatively.
The artistry that comes with handwriting as a means of self-expression comes to life in the works of art commissioned for Montblanc Haus. The work of Paris-based artist Wendy Andreu is the first thing visitors encounter, art from wool colored with ink and filled with surprising details that reveal themselves with every look: words, waves, the shape of mountains. For Studio Marianne Guély, paper is an unlimited source of inspiration used as the signature material for its creations, one of which is suspended inside the dome of Montblanc Haus.
In addition to the permanent exhibition, Montblanc Haus welcomes visitors to enjoy temporary exhibits, the Montblanc Archives (by special arrangement), a café as well as a boutique that features exclusive Montblanc Haus products.