Leica Camera AG formally opened Leitz Park 3 on June 15 and 16, 2018. Leitz Park 3 encompasses several new buildings added to the Leitz Park campus which opened in 2014. These new buildings house the future Leica Museum, the Leica Archive, a new Leica Store, the Leica Akademie and the current exhibition of Eyes Wide Open. The event also marked the formal opening of the arcona Living Ernst Leitz Hotel and the dedication of the new headquarters of the CW Sonderoptic GmbH.
I was fortunate to be included among the 1,200 invited guests to the event, and I took advantage of the opportunity to attend. I had never been to the new Leitz Park before, even though I had been to Wetzlar and Leica too many times to count in the past. As a first time visitor, I was overwhelmed by the fantastic new campus that Andreas Kaufmann and his resurgent Leica company had built over the past few years. It was certainly a refreshing change from the survival mode the company had been in for decades. Having come directly from the Frankfurt airport after my overnight flight from the States, I wandered around for about a half hour admiring the campus, and then made my first priority getting something to eat. By this time, the only place still open was the Café Leitz. Over some amazing coffee and cake I was soon joined by so many of my Leica friends past and present. David Farkas and Josh Lehrer, Alan Weinschel our VP and my good friend Jonathan Slack were there. We were soon joined by Peter Karbe for an interesting talk about Leica lens design. I also paid my respects to Dr. Kaufmann and his wife, and their guest Jane Cui. Café Leitz became our home base over the next few days, where we watched the Leica world go by and I was re-acquainted with so many of my old Leica friends.