Inspiration iba 2023

Tradition and modernity combined in the PANEUM

1200 exhibits and 5500 books from 9000 years of bread history - the PANEUM in Asten is truly a “Wunderkammer des Brotes”. This impressive building, which is part of the baking ingredients manufacturer backaldrin, was opened in 2017. Since then, it has delighted tens of thousands of visitors.

The Wunderkammer of Bread is hard to miss: Located directly on the western motorway, the PANEUM in Asten is an eye-catcher for its architecture alone. The building is clad in over 3000 stainless steel shingles that reflect all of nature’s spectacles. It also captivates with its unique shape, which was designed by the international star architect COOP HIMMELB(L)AU Wolf D. Prix & Partners: To some it looks like a steel candyfloss, to others like a silver lump of dough. For Wolf D. Prix it is a "cloud ship". In any case, it is the world's first wooden building without supports in a free organic form. As modern as it may be on the outside, inside everything revolves around the traditional craftsmanship of bakery. On three floors made of wood, connected by a 45-tonne spiral staircase made of stainless steel, a fascinating world of bread awaits visitors.


Collective passion

“The PANEUM is intended to illustrate the influence and importance bread has had in human history and still has today,” says PANEUM founder, backaldrin owner and Kornspitz® inventor Peter Augendopler. Coming from a family of bakers and a trained baker himself, he has been at home in the world of bread since his childhood. The history of his family business has taken him to more than 100 countries. There, he and backaldrin got to know countless bakeries and the most diverse bread cultures. The collection that has been assembled over the past decades is also based on this entrepreneurial spirit and passion for bread. It ranges from Egyptian grain mummies, Peruvian totem poles and Meissen porcelain to a bouquet of wheat ears by Coco Chanel, paintings made of gingerbread by Roy Lichtenstein and a comprehensive library. The concept of the PANEUM corresponds to that of a classical cabinet of curiosities.


The idea of such a cabinet of curiosities originated in Italy in the 16th century. At that time, rarities and curiosities were exhibited, often with nothing more in common than the collector himself. It was all about the perspective of the collector, who conveyed interesting facts about the objects and could tell stories about them. At the PANEUM, this commonality is Peter Augendopler and his passion for bread. “We love bread and we want to convey this passion to everyone in this way,” says Peter Augendopler. With the help of 1200 exhibits and 5500 books, PANEUM visitors can travel through the most diverse epochs to learn more about the importance of bread. Starting from its “invention” in the Neolithic Age to today's diversity, the collection spans an arc from the past to the present and tells 9000 years of bread history. “When something has such a long tradition, it has to be presented in a modern way. Contrasts are exciting and, at the same time, we show that baking is a highly modern profession today,” says Augendopler, for whom this symbiosis also reflects the entire work of backaldrin and the entire bakery sector. In the building, which is a customer information centre, event forum and exhibition venue at the same time, people can talk, research and think about the future.


The collection of knowledge and the unique building can be admired in the form of open guided tours that take place weekly. Children can actively experience the history of bread. But regular special exhibitions also make the PANEUM worth visiting again and again: For example, the guided tour “Christianity as a Bread Religion” will be offered again this Advent season and during Lent 2024.


New works of art with bread and pastries: Sweet-Head and Bread-Head

The newest additions to the collection are being exhibited for the first time at iba 2023: Sweet-Head and Bread-Head. The faces of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s “Four Seasons” are world famous. His still lifes were created by arranging flowers, fruit and vegetables, among other things. But not bread and pastries. Now the renowned artist René Marcel Rivière has changed that. With Bread-Head and Sweet-Head, he has created heads of bread and pastries – 80 x 100 cm oil panel paintings in the style of fantastic realism.


“I met René Marcel Rivière personally some time ago and noticed that he could paint in the style of the ‘Old Masters’, and that he still masters this particular technique today. During my visits to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, I often looked at works by Dürer and Arcimboldo. That’s when the idea came to me to have heads painted with baked goods. Bakery products are the most essential food in the world, and they should be presented accordingly. The aim is to make visitors to the PANEUM aware of the value of these special foods,” said Peter Augendopler in thanking the artist.


René Marcel Rivière was born in Vienna in 1950. Even as a child, he expressed himself through music and painting. Since studying at the University of Applied Arts, he has worked as a freelance artist locally and abroad and is represented in many international collections.


“Bread is the most essential product in the world. If people, in any way whatsoever, think just a little bit about bread, we will have achieved everything we wanted,” says Peter Augendopler.



PANEUM opening hours:

Tue - Sat: 10:00 – 16:00 (except public holidays); last admission 15:00


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