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Phoenix des Lumières

The Phoenix
des Lumières

A historical site

The Phoenix des Lumières is located in a former puddling and rolling mill in the city of Dortmund. Culturespaces aims to bring the site back to life by creating a large digital art centre that will present major immersive exhibitions.

1843 - Production is launched


Production is launched

Hermann Dietrich Piepenstock, one of the main steel manufacturers in the west of the Kingdom of Prussia, moved to Dortmund-Hörde in around 1840 to create his own blast furnace, reservoir, and rolling mill. Production began in 1843.

1843 - Production is launched

Still very dependant on importations of pig iron, the region had a blast furnace factory constructed in 1852 on the present-day site of Phoenix-West, in order to reduce its dependency.

Innovations in the form of blasting techniques replaced the process of puddling, one of the industrial revolution’s major technologies.

1852 setzt das Unternehmen als Erstes seines Sektors in der Ruhr das moderne Konzept ein. 1906 entsteht durch eine Fusion die Phoenix AG für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb, einer der größten deutschen Montankonzerne.

1913 - Decline



Dortmund’s industrial activity underwent a period of strong economic growth from the nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century. The decline in these activities soon led to the city’s economic and demographic decline, which had major repercussions on companies.

1913 - Decline

In 1913, Dortmund produced several million tonnes of coal and coke, but the successive wars had a negative impact on its economy. The German steel working industry was reorganised, leading to company mergers and changes of ownership.

As of 1958, there were mass layoffs in the mining industry. The successive closures of the factories were incomprehensible for the local population, for whom the industrial activity shaped the city’s identity.

In 1998, the blast furnace’s blow-moulding hall was closed and the industrial complex disappeared in 2001. Lake Phoenix was created on the site of the steelworks and the innovation centre Phoenix West on the blast furnace’s former site.

2004 - The transformation into a cultural site


The transformation into a cultural site

Since the beginning of 2000, a plan was implemented to convert the industrial complex into a cultural space.

2004 - The transformation into a cultural site

Five years after the factory’s closure, the idea was conceived to transform the former blow-moulding hall into an exhibition and events space.

The renovation work began in the immense 2,200 m² hall, which was known as the Phoenix Halle. After becoming a site dedicated to the arts, the site hosted in 2004 the second presentation of the ‘Nam June Paik Award’, the international prize of the media arts.

The German hip-hop group ‘Die Fantastischen Vier’ transformed the exhibition hall into a concert room; the first concert was held in November 2017 and was sold out with 3,600 visitors. The group inaugurated the hall in April 2018 and named it the ‘Warsteiner Music Hall’.

2022 - Phoenix des Lumières


Phoenix des Lumières

Impressed by the site with its 13-metre high walls and its 3,000 m² surface area, Culturespaces was entrusted with the management of the site in 2022.

2022 - Phoenix des Lumières

The unique architecture of the buildings is a showcase that highlights the works of the most famous artists in the history of art and provide visitors with a unique immersive experience.

The Phoenix des Lumières opened to the public on 28 January 2023 with the exhibitions ‘Gustav Klimt: Gold and Colour’ and ‘Hundertwasser, in the Wake of the Vienna Secession’.