The Henkel villa in Rengsdorf has been owned by the Lohmann & Rauscher Group (L&R) since 1986. The company runs the historic building as a training facility and conference centre within its L&R Academy. Following extensive renovations, the internationally operating medical device provider has now reopened the villa with the new name “L&R College”. The keys were ceremoniously handed over at a celebration attended by Christian Robenek, the mayor of Rengsdorf, a selection of special guests and Wolfgang Süßle, Chairman of the Management Board of the L&R Group, on 24th May.
In the early 20th century, Rengsdorf was a popular spa location for the well-to-do society families in and around Cologne. Further evidence of this is the stately villa constructed there in 1911-12 by Kommerzienrat (industrialist honoured by the government) Fritz Henkel (1848-1930), senior partner of Henkel & Cie. GmbH, with the aim of spending his twilight years in the Westerwalde community. Following the death of its last owner, Jost Henkel, the building stood empty for a few years. In 1966, the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate took over the villa along with its grounds stretching over eleven hectares and the outbuildings and used the site for various purposes including a specialised pedagogical institute. L&R purchased the estate in 1986 after the institute had closed and established its own training facility and conference centre.
The Henkel villa and its grounds were designated a listed monument and its floral diversity awarded nature protection in 1985. In a little over a year, the entire building was refurbished and modernised from the ground up in compliance with listed building guidelines: The primary focus was on creating an aesthetically sophisticated environment characterised by brightness and clear structures. However, the aim was also to establish a modern atmosphere with contemporary furnishings for the wide range of courses and training sessions offered through the L&R Academy. Consequently, in addition to conference and meeting rooms, rooms were also equipped for clinical training in the fields of plaster of Paris and synthetic casts, wound management and surgery. The space under the roof was converted into a modern media lounge, where conference guests can not only check their e-mails during breaks but also take some time to relax at their leisure with a coffee-table book or an iPad. The attic also now houses office space to reflect the continually growing staff of the dynamic company. Not only that, the grounds are also open to conference guests wishing to take a stroll and enjoy nature.
L&R intentionally selected a professional team from the region for the renovation of the Henkel villa: The Koblenz architecture firm led by Jens Ternes was responsible for the architectural design and construction supervision, while the design concept was developed by Matthias Wollweber and his agency team at eberle & wollweber COMMUNICATIONS, also based in Koblenz. In addition, Will Engineering GmbH (building services engineering) and pro office (interior architecture / office and interior design) were also involved in the project.
“We are delighted that this corporate project turned out so beautifully,” said Wolfgang Süßle, CEO of the L&R Group. “In our eyes, the Henkel villa represents the perfect fusion of historical building and modern design: As the L&R College, it offers a platform for the exchange of experiences and absorption of knowledge which lives up to modern requirements and manages to retain its charm so rich in history, at the same time. The courses and training sessions hosted by our L&R Academy will surely be even more enjoyable for our customers, partners and staff in this new atmosphere. The new L&R College is a key element of our brand strategy: We want every visitor to experience the L&R brand positively, understand it, absorb it and take it away with them,” continued Wolfgang Süßle.
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