Deutsche Bank has a long recovery ahead after its crisis year of 2016. It is in the throes of painful restructuring and downsizing measures. And yet, two days before the annual general meeting, two men in charge of what might seem like peripheral activities for the bank seem amazingly relaxed.
Friedhelm Hütte is in charge of art at Deutsche Bank, and Thorsten Strauss is the bank’s global head of art, culture and sports. For all the bad press and dwindling stock prices, the pair has something to celebrate. A year from now, Deutsche Bank will open a culture forum at a prime location in Berlin, putting the bank’s vast art collection on public display.
The 18th century Prinzessinnenpalais, or Crown Princess Palace, sits between the State Opera and the Humboldt Forum on the Berlin avenue, Unter den Linden. It was destroyed in the Second World War, reconstructed as the Opera Café, and in 2014 acquired by the head of Springer publishing house, Mathias Döpfner.
Construction sites around the State Opera and the Humboldt Forum will soon be gone and the stretch of boulevard is likely to become Berlin’s most prominent promenade. Grand, imperial, and decidedly statesmanlike, it’s hard to imagine a more prestigious address for the struggling bank to present a brave face to the world.
There has been speculation for some time now over the future of this prime piece of real estate. The Berliner Tagesspiegel newspaper had hoped for a café– and wasn’t completely off the mark. The bank plans to include a café on the ground floor of the 3,000 square-meter, or 32,300 square-foot, property. It’s all part of an effort to bring a new audience to Deutsche Bank’s cultural social and sports activities.
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