Contract - Sensory Experience: Jean Nouvel designs a Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom

design - features - hospitality design



Sensory Experience: Jean Nouvel designs a Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom

18 April, 2011

-By Michael Webb; Photography by Roland Halbe


Atelier Jean Nouvel won a competition to design a tower on the canal that borders the historic core of Vienna, beating out three other Pritzker laureates with a site-specific landmark. It opened last December as the five-star Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, named for the Gothic cathedral that inspired its distinctive form. As audacious a building as any Nouvel has done, it makes an important contribution to a city that was once a crucible of modernism and has been lingering too long in a fantasy of old-world charm. A century ago, this was the city of Schoenberg and Freud, Otto Wagner and the Wiener Werkstatte, as well as Sachertorte and the Emperor Waltz.

“I’m a real globetrotter, and I spend half my time in hotels,” says Nouvel. “Grand hotels used to be social and cultural meeting spaces: massive buildings you could see from everywhere. That quality has been lost in recent decades. Most rooms look alike, and sometimes I cannot remember where I am. I wanted to enrich Vienna with a work of art.” To achieve that goal, he challenged conventional ideas of a luxury hotel as a symmetrical container with pretentious faux-antique décor.

The 12-story block of guestrooms is slightly tilted and raised on columns over a cut-away wedge of meeting rooms, a fitness center, and a winter garden that encloses a stepped terrace. The sloping surface is clad with a grid of colored glass to evoke the bold pattern of tiles on the cathedral roof. There’s a glass walled lobby at the base, and a top floor restaurant is transparent on all four sides. Guestrooms are arranged on three sides of the main block, behind black, white, and gray façades. Service areas to the east are clad in translucent glass. The blank wall of a neighboring block is covered with one of Patrick Blanc’s vertical gardens. Stilwerke, a four-level contemporary design emporium, opens out of a lofty atrium at the center of the building.

The Sofitel is alternately rigorous and exuberant, severely monochromatic and playfully polychromatic. Black, white, transparency, and reflectivity are the four threads that Nouvel has woven together. “I was consciously restrained in my use of colors and materials,” he explains. “I wanted to give the whole building and the rooms in particular a certain depth and darkness.” To complement this austerity, he commissioned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist to create three backlit, painted canvas ceilings that hover over the city like gigantic glowing frescoes—at the base, the top, and the fifth floor to echo the height of older neighbors. It’s an idea that was born in the hotel Nouvel designed in Lucerne, Switzerland, 10 years ago, reproducing stills from Japanese and erotic movies on the ceilings of a converted mansion. Rist has taken the idea much further, incorporating video screens to augment the still imagery. Though her work is contemporary in spirit, she’s unconsciously channeling Adolf Loos, the iconoclastic architect of fin de siecle Vienna, who stripped away the prevailing froth of surface ornament and used rich marbles and wood veneers to create organic ornament in his minimalist buildings.

“Arriving guests look straight into the nostrils of a huge glowing nose,” says Rist, reveling in the shock this is likely to provoke. The ceiling of the winter garden has a watery theme that includes fish and ferns. In The Loft, a prestigious 200-seat restaurant commanding views over the city, diners are canopied by autumnal foliage, and video screens show an eye opening and a hand squeezing a peach. Angled mirrors project this imagery down to street level. “We worked closely with the chef and architect to control the intensity of the colored light,” says general manager William J. Haandrikman. “The goal throughout was to achieve a harmony that puts people at ease. There’s an initial shock, but it wears off after a few minutes.”

Nouvel has been called the “Prince of Darkness” for his love of shadows, and he enjoys the role of agent provocateur. “I don’t build hotel rooms,” he says. “What I really create are temporary possibilities of residing and moving, of imagining and dreaming.” He notes that there are plenty of five-star hotels in Vienna with traditional décor so he didn’t feel obliged to please everyone, instead preferring to create something unique. That impulse produced 182 guestrooms and suites employing the single color of their façade—black, white or gray—for every surface and piece of custom-designed Nouvel furniture. To intensify this sensory experience, wall paint and fabrics share a velvety texture. And each room has been given a distinctive signature by French graphic designers Alain Bony and Henri Labiole. Using pencils, spray cans, and brushes in tones of gray, silver, and white, they added subtle lines and dots to walls and ceilings—even illegible words by famous writers on the ceilings. “Our work will remain incomprehensible and mysterious to a certain degree,” says Bony.

“How can I fill a hotel with these extreme colors?” wondered Haandrikman when he was appointed, but he now admits that his fears were unfounded. “It’s exactly what this Francophile city needs. Berlin and Barcelona have become more modern, and it was time for Vienna to do the same. We serve a niche market—people love it or hate it—but no guest yet has wanted to move out of an all-black room.”

who
Project: Sofitel Vienna. Client: UNIQA Praterstrasse Projekterrichtungs. Client representative: ARGE bau-control UNIQA. Hotel operator: Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom (Groupe Accor). Architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Paris, France; Ingrid Menon, Marie-Hélène Baldran (project leaders); Matthias Raasch, Christoph Bienert (facades); Sabrina Letourneur; Eric Nespoulous, Anita Barthelemy Peboeck (industrial design); Natalie Saccu de Franchi, Eugénie Robert, Rafaëlle Ishkinazi (graphics); Clara Abreu, Amandine Albertini, Anna Angelelli, Jaime Battle, Fréderic Caudoux, Amandine Chezeau, Arnaud Coutine, Dan Dorell, Matthieu Gabry, Lucie Garban, Sophie Gramatica, Jiayao Huang, Jennifer Kandel, Freddy Laun, Denis Laurent, Arnaud Lapierre, Jéremy Lebarillec, Jugulta Le Clerre, Laetitia Leinartz, Paul Emmanuel Loiret, Marie Maillard, Kirsi Marjamaki Mas, Stephane Matthys, Tanguy Nguyen, Benoit Pailloux, Jörg Petrick, Paul Pires da Fonte, Susanne Priessner, Florence Rabiet, Ursula Reiner, Janaina Rezende, Pierre Roch, Federica Soletta, Karen Sherwood, Gaston Tolila, Anne Traband, Jacqueline Vieira Raasch, Francois Zab, Nabila Zerrouki (architects, designers, graphic designers); Étienne Follenfant, Jean Marc Kurzewski (models); Jean Angelini, Marie Maillard, Christophe Rousselle (images); Hubert Tonka adviser to Jean Nouvel. Artistic ceiling: Pipilotti Rist, Zürich, Switzerland Thomas Rhyner, Davide Legittimo, Judith Lava, Rachele Giudici, Chloé Pompon, Nici Jost, Pierré Mennel, Ewelina Guzik, Jean-Louis Gafner, Balz Roth, Carlos Martinez, Diego Rosafio. Green wall: Patrick Blanc. Artistic work rooms: Alain Bony et Henri Labiole. Artists/graphic designer rooms: Adam Fard, Almut Hahn, Eva Kadlec, Kris Lemsalu, Adrian Moldovan, Peter O.S., David Peschka, Fiona Ruckschcio, Elisa Schlifke, Sabina Smiljanic, Nasim Yilmaz. Construction documents: Neumann et Partner. Engineers: Werner Consult Ziviltechniker. Ingenieurconsulent für Bauween, Terrell International, Altherm Engineering, Baden, Buri Müller Partner. Acoustics: Zivilingenierbüro Prause, Quiring Consultants Ingenierubüro, Éclairage. Lighting design: Pokorny Lichtarchitektur. External layout : Rosinak et Partner Ziviltechniker. Photographer: Roland Halbe.

where
Location: Vienna, Austria.




Sensory Experience: Jean Nouvel designs a Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom

18 April, 2011


Roland Halbe

Atelier Jean Nouvel won a competition to design a tower on the canal that borders the historic core of Vienna, beating out three other Pritzker laureates with a site-specific landmark. It opened last December as the five-star Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, named for the Gothic cathedral that inspired its distinctive form. As audacious a building as any Nouvel has done, it makes an important contribution to a city that was once a crucible of modernism and has been lingering too long in a fantasy of old-world charm. A century ago, this was the city of Schoenberg and Freud, Otto Wagner and the Wiener Werkstatte, as well as Sachertorte and the Emperor Waltz.

“I’m a real globetrotter, and I spend half my time in hotels,” says Nouvel. “Grand hotels used to be social and cultural meeting spaces: massive buildings you could see from everywhere. That quality has been lost in recent decades. Most rooms look alike, and sometimes I cannot remember where I am. I wanted to enrich Vienna with a work of art.” To achieve that goal, he challenged conventional ideas of a luxury hotel as a symmetrical container with pretentious faux-antique décor.

The 12-story block of guestrooms is slightly tilted and raised on columns over a cut-away wedge of meeting rooms, a fitness center, and a winter garden that encloses a stepped terrace. The sloping surface is clad with a grid of colored glass to evoke the bold pattern of tiles on the cathedral roof. There’s a glass walled lobby at the base, and a top floor restaurant is transparent on all four sides. Guestrooms are arranged on three sides of the main block, behind black, white, and gray façades. Service areas to the east are clad in translucent glass. The blank wall of a neighboring block is covered with one of Patrick Blanc’s vertical gardens. Stilwerke, a four-level contemporary design emporium, opens out of a lofty atrium at the center of the building.

The Sofitel is alternately rigorous and exuberant, severely monochromatic and playfully polychromatic. Black, white, transparency, and reflectivity are the four threads that Nouvel has woven together. “I was consciously restrained in my use of colors and materials,” he explains. “I wanted to give the whole building and the rooms in particular a certain depth and darkness.” To complement this austerity, he commissioned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist to create three backlit, painted canvas ceilings that hover over the city like gigantic glowing frescoes—at the base, the top, and the fifth floor to echo the height of older neighbors. It’s an idea that was born in the hotel Nouvel designed in Lucerne, Switzerland, 10 years ago, reproducing stills from Japanese and erotic movies on the ceilings of a converted mansion. Rist has taken the idea much further, incorporating video screens to augment the still imagery. Though her work is contemporary in spirit, she’s unconsciously channeling Adolf Loos, the iconoclastic architect of fin de siecle Vienna, who stripped away the prevailing froth of surface ornament and used rich marbles and wood veneers to create organic ornament in his minimalist buildings.

“Arriving guests look straight into the nostrils of a huge glowing nose,” says Rist, reveling in the shock this is likely to provoke. The ceiling of the winter garden has a watery theme that includes fish and ferns. In The Loft, a prestigious 200-seat restaurant commanding views over the city, diners are canopied by autumnal foliage, and video screens show an eye opening and a hand squeezing a peach. Angled mirrors project this imagery down to street level. “We worked closely with the chef and architect to control the intensity of the colored light,” says general manager William J. Haandrikman. “The goal throughout was to achieve a harmony that puts people at ease. There’s an initial shock, but it wears off after a few minutes.”

Nouvel has been called the “Prince of Darkness” for his love of shadows, and he enjoys the role of agent provocateur. “I don’t build hotel rooms,” he says. “What I really create are temporary possibilities of residing and moving, of imagining and dreaming.” He notes that there are plenty of five-star hotels in Vienna with traditional décor so he didn’t feel obliged to please everyone, instead preferring to create something unique. That impulse produced 182 guestrooms and suites employing the single color of their façade—black, white or gray—for every surface and piece of custom-designed Nouvel furniture. To intensify this sensory experience, wall paint and fabrics share a velvety texture. And each room has been given a distinctive signature by French graphic designers Alain Bony and Henri Labiole. Using pencils, spray cans, and brushes in tones of gray, silver, and white, they added subtle lines and dots to walls and ceilings—even illegible words by famous writers on the ceilings. “Our work will remain incomprehensible and mysterious to a certain degree,” says Bony.

“How can I fill a hotel with these extreme colors?” wondered Haandrikman when he was appointed, but he now admits that his fears were unfounded. “It’s exactly what this Francophile city needs. Berlin and Barcelona have become more modern, and it was time for Vienna to do the same. We serve a niche market—people love it or hate it—but no guest yet has wanted to move out of an all-black room.”

who
Project: Sofitel Vienna. Client: UNIQA Praterstrasse Projekterrichtungs. Client representative: ARGE bau-control UNIQA. Hotel operator: Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom (Groupe Accor). Architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Paris, France; Ingrid Menon, Marie-Hélène Baldran (project leaders); Matthias Raasch, Christoph Bienert (facades); Sabrina Letourneur; Eric Nespoulous, Anita Barthelemy Peboeck (industrial design); Natalie Saccu de Franchi, Eugénie Robert, Rafaëlle Ishkinazi (graphics); Clara Abreu, Amandine Albertini, Anna Angelelli, Jaime Battle, Fréderic Caudoux, Amandine Chezeau, Arnaud Coutine, Dan Dorell, Matthieu Gabry, Lucie Garban, Sophie Gramatica, Jiayao Huang, Jennifer Kandel, Freddy Laun, Denis Laurent, Arnaud Lapierre, Jéremy Lebarillec, Jugulta Le Clerre, Laetitia Leinartz, Paul Emmanuel Loiret, Marie Maillard, Kirsi Marjamaki Mas, Stephane Matthys, Tanguy Nguyen, Benoit Pailloux, Jörg Petrick, Paul Pires da Fonte, Susanne Priessner, Florence Rabiet, Ursula Reiner, Janaina Rezende, Pierre Roch, Federica Soletta, Karen Sherwood, Gaston Tolila, Anne Traband, Jacqueline Vieira Raasch, Francois Zab, Nabila Zerrouki (architects, designers, graphic designers); Étienne Follenfant, Jean Marc Kurzewski (models); Jean Angelini, Marie Maillard, Christophe Rousselle (images); Hubert Tonka adviser to Jean Nouvel. Artistic ceiling: Pipilotti Rist, Zürich, Switzerland Thomas Rhyner, Davide Legittimo, Judith Lava, Rachele Giudici, Chloé Pompon, Nici Jost, Pierré Mennel, Ewelina Guzik, Jean-Louis Gafner, Balz Roth, Carlos Martinez, Diego Rosafio. Green wall: Patrick Blanc. Artistic work rooms: Alain Bony et Henri Labiole. Artists/graphic designer rooms: Adam Fard, Almut Hahn, Eva Kadlec, Kris Lemsalu, Adrian Moldovan, Peter O.S., David Peschka, Fiona Ruckschcio, Elisa Schlifke, Sabina Smiljanic, Nasim Yilmaz. Construction documents: Neumann et Partner. Engineers: Werner Consult Ziviltechniker. Ingenieurconsulent für Bauween, Terrell International, Altherm Engineering, Baden, Buri Müller Partner. Acoustics: Zivilingenierbüro Prause, Quiring Consultants Ingenierubüro, Éclairage. Lighting design: Pokorny Lichtarchitektur. External layout : Rosinak et Partner Ziviltechniker. Photographer: Roland Halbe.

where
Location: Vienna, Austria.

 


Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
*Username: 
*Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 




follow us

advertisement


advertisement






advertisement


advertisement




Contract Magazine is devoted to highlighting creative interior design trends and ideas that are shaping the industry on a daily basis. Contract is proud to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage of commercial interior design products and resources that procure uniqueness when designing a space. Contract is the modern interior design magazine that recognizes fresh interior design ideas and projects powerful interior design resources.

 

Contract Magazine Home | Interior Design News | Interior Planning Products | Interior Design Research | Interior Design Competitions | Interior Design Resources | Interactive Interior Designing | Digital/Print Versions | Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us | Advertising Opportunities | Subscriber FAQs | RSS | Sitemap

© Emerald Expositions 2014. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy