Pirkner, 88, manages to gracefully and subtlety re-imagine a company known for its lavish and sometimes ostentatious commercial presence, through the new complex. Though classically trained in drawing, then transitioning into sculpting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam and the Free Academy in Utrecht, Pirkner was able draw inspiration from his love of mountains for the new headquarters.
Fourteen bulls covered in thick tough layers of copper and clay skin, thunder out of two volcanic conic buildings. The volcanic spires, with peaks clothed in dense layers of stone-tile roofing, supported by large translucent windows, all hover above a shimmering turquoise lagoon. Each bull, measuring 24 meters across and 40 tons each, were designed and hand fashioned by Austrian sculptor, Jos Pirkner, for Red Bull’s microcosmic new headquarters in Fuschl Am See, Austria. As old friends, Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull, was patient with Pirkner’s extensive eight years of experimentation, planning and designing of the Die Bullen von Fuschl complex. Beginning with a chalk sketch on brick flooring, then subsequently moving to models, Pirkner designed every last detail from buildings, gardens and even select works of art housed in the offices.
Pirkner himself realizes the unique challenge placed before him when Mateschitz approached him, “I realize I’m not an architect in the traditional sense but my architecture developed from the spatial experience as a sculptor. I can tackle projects as an artist; infuse my emotions without becoming intimidated by the technicalities.”
Placed in the Austrian country side, across from a lake and forest of trees, Pirkner displays his mastery of metals and deep understanding of landscape harmony; for example, with large open glass windows all over the complex, melded with welcoming skylights, each office –particularly that of Mateschitz, located in the center of the volcano– evokes the feeling of an open doorway that ascends towards the stratosphere. A stratosphere that Red Bull is all too familiar with.
Wandering the grounds of Die Bullen von Fuschl, it would seem as though nothing were out of place in Fuschl. Pirkner mends together the raw energy of the discharging lava-like bronze bulls from the volcanic offices –representative of Red Bull and its fervor– in hopes to inspire appreciators of his work to dive into their own fourth dimension. He himself believes in a fourth dimension boundless, free-of-restraints open connection between inside and out, whether in his drawings, sculpting or his approach to spatial design.
Story By: Christopher Ho
Images By: Die Bullen von Fuschl