London-based David Archer Architects and Yoo Ltd are designing an opulent interior for the Sans Souci hotel in Vienna
On the drawing board: Sans Souci boutique hotel
Viennese boutique hotel Sans Souci is David Archer Architects’ third hotel project with design and development consultant Yoo. The practice started on the project last year, having already worked with Yoo on a concept for a hotel near Diocletian’s villa in Split, Croatia.
At Sans Souci Wien, the practice is refurbishing a typical 19th century Habsburg city block, situated in the museum quarter of Vienna looking across to the Hofburg palace. The building once housed the Zum Grossen Zeisig venue where Johann Strauss premiered his Tritsch-Tratsch Polka in 1858 and from 1872, the Hotel Höller.
The project will provide 64 hotel bedrooms and eight apartments for sale on three new upper floors, plus a spa in the basement.
Working with drawings provided by local architect A2K, David Archer and Julieann Humphryes of David Archer Architects are manipulating the interior architecture to receive the practice’s boutique design scheme. Its approach is to provide a playful, modern design that responds to its historic location without becoming a pastiche.
“The first challenge was that the hotel lobby had to be at the back of the building, reached from the street by a 20m-long gallery. To make this passage an event, we’re putting in a marble mosaic floor and a coffered ceiling with gold decoration. The walls will be polished plaster with four specially commissioned porcelain statues of muses set in niches along the gallery, which will be decorated with gold leaf,” says Archer, who drew inspiration from the richly decorated buildings all around Vienna.
‘The furniture is a collection of different ideas that collide — it’s all a game’
The concept for the lobby was also influenced by the beautifully patterned floors of the Pantheon in Rome and the Neues Museum in Berlin. This will be a naturally lit rotunda with furniture set out on a very rich, red and green stone patterned floor calmed down with French limestone. Walls will be polished plaster with decorative glass that reflects the patterned floor.
The reception desk is an S-shaped cabinet, filled with white bisque by Nymphenburg, which snakes into the reception room, which has walls lined in soft and gentle cream padded leather.
“The furniture is a collection of different ideas that collide — it’s all a game,” says Archer.
The lobby leads to the opulent American bar, which is conceived as the atmospheric hotspot of the hotel, and through to the restaurant. This room is relatively restrained in order to show off the hotel group’s collection of 20th century artwork.
Bedrooms are divided into four types — luxury, superior, junior suite and presidential suite. To create these, the architects are drawing on their love of marquetry, joinery and antiques in combination with modern European furniture of Eames and Mollino in order to create a luxury, contemporary five-star product. In the junior suite, floors are oak parquet with bespoke rugs, cream walls, and decorative double doors to the bathroom.
The presidential suite is dual aspect with a sycamore and oak marquetry floor in the same motif as used in the floor of the bar. The suite of rooms includes an art deco-style bathroom with walls lined in fluted glass rods and a domed feature ceiling LED-lit to provide warmth. Below, a circular black bath is positioned on a chequerboard black and white stone floor.
The basement will house a new 25m-long pool and spa. Located beneath the original vaults, these will have an atmospheric, timeless quality, says Archer. The pool room will be clad in travertine with a decorative mirror stretching the length of the split-level lap pool, which will be lined in satin-finish stainless steel. Above the water, five crystal chandeliers will hang from the plastered vaulted ceiling. Views into the pool room will be framed from the adjacent relaxation room and spa entrance.
“It is modelled more on Roman vaulted baths than a contemporary swimming pool,” he says.
Externally, the building is being renovated, with the original wood casement windows restored and retained. Balconies are being reinstated on the street facade along with a conservatory on Museumstrasse in accordance with historic drawings for the building.
Sans Souci is on site and is due to open at the end of the year.
The American Bar
A mix of historic details and 20th century classics provides a seductive atmosphere
For the bar, David Archer Architects drew on details from 18th century Viennese palaces and pieces by 20th century European designers to create the eclectic and decorative use of furniture and materials common to the Yoo brand. The bar has a black and gold colour scheme, with polished brass motifs set in a dark wood floor.
A sinuous black velvet Dali sofa takes centre stage, accompanied by Gaudí chairs and reproduction French 19th century hooded sofas. These will be combined with a baroque fireplace, gold tiled fire back and highly decorative walnut wall panels with integral mirrors and candle holders which the practice will commission from artisans.
“It’s atmospheric, seductive and decadent, as well as having a relationship to its historic Viennese location,” says David Archer.
“We looked at traditional panelling and gilt decoration from 18th century interiors — if you walk around the Hofburg opposite, there are whole galleries of furnishings and furniture that once belonged to the royal family. We were able to draw on all of that.”
Client Sans Souci Group
Hotel designer David Archer Architects with Yoo