Between tradition and experiment
VIENNA (AT) - The Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna keeps coming up with first-class architecture exhibitions. Star architects such as Zaha Hadid and Peter Eisenmann have already had solo shows there. Right now it is the turn of Coop Himmelb(l)au.
For alterations to the museum's restaurant, however, director Peter Noever turned not to the world-famous stars but to local Viennese architects. For years its ambience had been determined by Hermann Czech's original design. When it reopened in 2006, Eichinger oder Knechtl had left their mark. They are known for their interior designs of cafés, restaurants and bars, some of which have become true classics of the Viennese scene.
In the MAK Café their job was to continue with 'positioning the institution between tradition and experiment'. The result: a classic Viennese restaurant in the midst of a Neo-Renaissance hall.
The architects divided the elongated space into three areas. The entrance area is occupied by a bar, the middle by a wood-panelled dining room and the rear by a solarium fitted out with niches of colourful upholstered seating. It is the usual subdivision seen in Viennese restaurants: The sequence of bar counter, dining room and additional back room has simply been reinterpreted in a modern idiom. Guests entering the restaurant are at first overwhelmed by the wealth of sensory impressions. Bar tables and stools, the counter and the chandelier compete for attention with the room's historical ceiling. The middle of the room probably makes the most effort at integration: the upwards-curving wood panelling with cut-out rectangular eyes clearly refers to the coffered ceiling floating above. While colour is used with restraint in the front part and hardly at all in the middle, the back room is particularly colourful. Upholstered benches in different hues subdivide the space into intimate alcoves. This is the only part that is independent of the original building fabric since it is housed in an annexe. (Anne Isopp)
Colour, Interior, Wood |