After almost 100 years as a printing workshop, the complex of buildings at 38 Nonnenstraße today serves as a living example of our industrial heritage. With its typical early 20th century industrial architecture, the exterior mirrors the function of the interior – a museum of the history of printing and print media.
The front part of the building dates back to 1876, while the side wings and rear building were completed in the period up to 1920. The front and side facades are finished in red clinker bricks and the rear building is constructed with a steel framework to bear the weight of heavy printing machinery. Generously proportioned windows let in ample amounts of daylight to the production facilities.
Dr. Karl Meyer GmbH Leipzig acquired 38 Nonnenstraße on 8th September 1921 and used the building for a publishing house, bookshop, printing workshop and bookbindery. The pictures on the right show what the building looked like in the 1930s, when the company employed a workforce of around 350.
In 1922/23 the front of the building was redesigned by the architect Edgar Röhrig – perhaps in a bid to enhance the image of the young company which had only been set up in 1919. The modest and unobtrusive façade, which was renovated in the 1990s, is now protected as a rare example of Art Deco architecture in the Leipzig cityscape.
After World War II, Dr. Karl Meyer GmbH was nationalized and in January 1953 became a state-owned company entitled VEB Offizin Haag Drugulin (after 1954, VEB Offizin Andersen Nexö). The building at 38 Nonnenstraße was one of the plants operated by the company up to 1991.
The Museum of the Printing Arts was founded in 1994 and boasts as one of its special features a collection of working machines and a fully functioning workshop.
The buildings surround an inner court yard with a fountain and benches – a beautiful place for visitors to relax in in the summer.
To this day, the place retains the spirit of an active printing workshop. Located in the west of Leipzig, across the main graphic quarter from the city centre, the house at 38 Nonnenstraße survived a bombing raid in December 1943. Nowadays the museum tells its own story – and as well as being an authentic centre for the “Black Art” is also one of the last historic printing workshops in Leipzig.