January 10 2014
City break in Vienna
Like a pendulum that oscillates between tradition and modernity, Vienna is a resolutely creative capital city that draws, with a quiet discernment, from its roots in order to propel itself into the present.
We take you on a little guided journey to meet the creative people and discover the new concepts that put this city at the top of the list of alternative European capitals.
Looking for a unique pied-à-terre in Vienna? Chez Cliché escapes all the codes of contemporary hospitality. Welcomed at the airport by the elegant Alexander F. W. Sprick – founder of the concept – to be driven in a Porsche Panamera with red leather interiors, one is sped towards one of the addresses dispersed throughout old Vienna. Each one consists of the luxury of a private apartment and the style of an Austrian personality. Sleep in the sheets of the Emperess Marie Thérèse (of Austria), dive into the Art Deco universe of the magnificent Koloman (Moser) or the musical world of the Beat apartment…these are some of the inspiring themes your stay could embody. Each apartment is the result of meticulous research seeking out period pieces and vintage furniture. Surrounded by numerous references, one almost feels transported to another time all together.
It is a boutique run by four graphic designers – Patrick Bauer, Ulrike Dorner, Georg Leditzky and Andreas Posselt – who together source, instagram, select and even create the products that they want to relay to their demanding clientele themselves. Lithographs by artists and ensembles of subtly colored stationery, home accessories (candles made in Denmark and pastel ceramic vases) and numerous timeless gifts ideas, the creative showroom – and the e-commerce sit – are constantly evolving according to the desires of the quartet. A concept store on a human scale, in line with the times.
At FeinKoch – which means “fine cuisine” in German – one will undoubtedly find excellent produce that will please young mothers, caring husbands, and budding or experienced chefs, but above all, we find recipes. No need to make a shopping list before coming or go crazy trying to find a gourmet meal idea: everything is available here! Want an apple-celery soup with vitelotte truffle potato chips or a red turnip risotto with a pumpkin seed pesto? You will find everything you need to achieve just that, including the recipe sheet (detailing the average price per person, the difficulty and time required to complete the course) and the advice of the foodie guru who runs the shop. For unlimited excellent produce, stocks and shelves full of jars of sauces, fresh mushrooms and exotic spices – FeinKoch is where it’s at.
Founded in 1903, Viennese milliner Mühlbauer is defined today by its Austrian manufacturing and the characteristic style of its collections. Sold in Tokyo, London, Moscow and New York, these exquisite hats display the quality of an ancestral savoir-faire: organic materials, merino wool, cashmere and baby alpaca hats hand knitted by Michaela Bürger, muslin fedoras and chef’s hats as wrinkled as though they had been put in the washing machine…This contemporary manufacturer never stops reinventing this time-honored tradition!
Nicknamed the ‘Bread Boutique’, the bakeries created by the passionate Joseph WegHaupt are presented as concept stores centred around bread and organic flours. Combining architecture and design, attentive service and refrigerated display cases – where farm produce and homemade preparations are aligned – the young baker began a revolution in this country where the bread is, for everyone, an everyday staple. Against a backdrop of open scenery, bright spaces, polished visual identity and a faultless eco-consciousness – this one’s a safe bet.
Well-known throughout the local creative scene, the Polka duo – made up of Monica Singer and Marie Rahm, both designers – have had multiple successful projects. For the porcelain manufacturer Herend, they revisited an old shell pattern, transposed it in a contemporary way onto a new set of dishes, thus intelligently creating a link between the Far East and Vienna. For the Lobmeyr glass factory, renowned for its fine glasses and decanters, they were not only creative directors but also created the Drinking Set NR. 280 – which quickly became a contemporary classic! – and more recently the Drop Vases, which they colored with infinite delicacy. For the furniture manufacturer Wittman, they recently designed a set consisting of a sofa and an armchair entitled Amber, which embody Scandinavian modernist codes. In very good taste.
Designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, the Sofitel Vienna Sephansdom is erected on the Danube in a building of eighteen floors in vertical lines and inclined plans.
Gray, white and black monochromes on the exterior facades, large windows and clean lines of the hotel interact with the Baroque and Gothic style of the Austrian capital. Inclines, covered with a geometric design echoing the cathedral across the street and the windows help to reflect and bring light, a major element around which the building was constructed. Inside and according on the orientation , the 182 rooms are decorated with a monochrome color from floor to ceiling: white on the north face, gray on the south face and completely black on the west face! In accordance with the monochrome color, each room features graphic works by Jean Nouvel, inspired by the Viennese artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and the transcriptions of music rhythm, performed by students of Fine Arts Vienna. Only the videos ceilings by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist and the plant wall by Patrick Blanc provide a colorful note to this uniform but not cold atmosphere. The restaurant Loft on the top floor offers a 180 ° view of the city, a gourmet menu and the feeling of being on a flying carpet over the city at night, with the reflection of the video by Pipilotti Rist in the large bay window. Magic!