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Philip Rosenthal’s residence. Bavaria’s heritage trust takes over Erkersreuth palace.

Sleeping in a marquee, receiving guests in a baroque hall; Erkersreuth palace in Selb is an exceptional location. For decades, it was the private residence of Philip Rosenthal (1916–2001), adventurer, entrepreneur, politician, patron of art and culture and a major proponent of design’s importance to business. Johann Christian August von Lindenfels had the palace constructed in 1748. In 1879, privy counsellor Philipp Rosenthal (1855–1937) laid the foundation for his now world-famous brand with a porcelain illustration in one of the palace’s rooms. After his son Philip returned to Selb from England in 1947 and in 1950 joined the porcelain factory started by his father, he redesigned Erkersreuth palace based on his own vision in keeping with his motto of “the truly new with the truly old”. The foyer’s walls, for instance, are not only decorated with numerous porcelain plates; instead, they are combined with music specially composed by Arnold Schönberg to transform the room into an installation artwork. Over time, a unique mix of Frankish baroque and modern porcelain art by international artists was created, which is still fascinating today. The palace grew into a venue for politics, commerce and art. It is where Philip Rosenthal met with Willy Brandt, Franz Josef Strauß and Helmut Schmidt as well as Walter Gropius and Andy Warhol. After the sale of the Rosenthal company to the Arcturus Group in Italy, it was for a long time unclear what would happen with the building. Kulturerbe Bayern, Bavaria’s cultural-heritage trust, has now acquired Erkersreuth palace to make it accessible for the public, after the necessary renovations, and create a place for interaction at this design hotspot. Readers wishing to learn more are recommended to take another look at the article by Barbara Friedrich in A&W 05, 2009 (in German), featuring wonderful photography of the interior.

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