Catering, Hotel business

Hotel Grand Ferdinand in Wien

Vienna’s bustling Ring Road marked the venue for the opening of the splendid and attentively furnished Hotel ‘Grand Ferdinand’. Local architectural office Atelier Heiss deferentially introduced a contemporary concept to transform the former office building. In close cooperation with the developer Florian Weitzer, who already has an excellent reputation in the Viennese hotel sector, a structure has emerged that harks back to the legendary Ring Road era of the 19th century.

Vienna’s bustling Ring Road marked the venue for the opening of the splendid and attentively furnished Hotel ‘Grand Ferdinand’. Local architectural office Atelier Heiss deferentially introduced a contemporary concept to transform the former office building. In close cooperation with the developer Florian Weitzer, who already has an excellent reputation in the Viennese hotel sector, a structure has emerged that harks back to the legendary Ring Road era of the 19th century.

The magnificent and noble historical structures of public buildings such as museums and opera houses dominate Vienna’s Ring Road, which remains an emblematic symbol of the Austrian capital to this day. In 1857 Emperor Franz Joseph I authorised plans to demolish the old fortification walls, ultimately paving the way for construction of the Ring Road. The resulting competition was won by architects Ludwig Förster, August Siccard von Siccardsburg and Edward van der Nüll. Consciously designed according to the ‘landscape principle’, which involves planting two or three rows of trees on each side between the streets and monumental buildings, the paths and boulevards provide sufficient space for both pedestrians and coachmen. In addition to generous park facilities, plots were also designated for the upper classes, who subsequently built splendid representational buildings here in historicist style. Construction of the Ring Road, which is 57 metres wide and 4 kilometres long, was one of the largest urban planning measures to be implemented in 19th-century Vienna.

It was on this immensely important street for Vienna that Atelier Heiss Architekten transformed the former Veitscher Magnesitwerke office building on the Schubert-ring section into a classic, yet modern hotel. Having long played a subordinate role, the unornamented 1950s building was to all intents and purposes totally revamped inside, with the courtyard wings also being newly rebuilt. Listed since 2003, the modest facade of the building and representative foyer with its impressive marble features were given a new slant by the architects to combine Viennese elegance with contemporary architecture. The planners took a cautious approach to the valuable building
substance and opened up the ground floor on the street side with a two-storey-high glazed front that lends curious passers-by a view of the interior. With the eye-catching opening, the architectural office and hotel operator Florian Weitzer have additionally created a liberality that effectively transports the splendorous and vibrant Ring Road into the hotel. The highlights here are two restaurants and the historical foyer. Colourful and ornamental concrete tiles, a handmade Lobmeyr chandelier, classic Thonet stools and leather benches all add to the stylish ambience of the ‘Restaurant am Ring’. The interior is not the only realm to enjoy such appropriate, high-quality selection; the kitchen also offers first-class culinary treats in all three restaurants, which also include somewhat overlooked traditional Austrian dishes such as Kaisersuppe (emperor’s soup) and Szegediner Fischsuppe (Szeged fish soup).

Inspiration for the richly detailed interior architecture was drawn from the prominent hotelier, who affectionately furnished the 188 standard rooms and suites in close cooperation with the architects. Curved white headboards, smoked oak parquet laid in a herringbone pattern, anthracite walls and glass brick shower partitions create a cosy, warm and eternally surprising ambience over five floors. What is exceptional in a hotel of this calibre is the fact it has two hostel-style dormitories.  Resembling the Orient Express in terms of design, the planners have combined bunk beds and marble wash basins, stained wood and gleaming brass. The layout at balcony level presents guests leaving the bedrooms with an elevated view down to the restaurant and the stylish boulevard outside. Another highlight is the eighth floor, where a fully glazed restaurant provides a panorama view over the rooftops of Vienna, of the surrounding sights and also of the outdoor pool. 

Atelier Heiss and Florian Weitzer have succeeded in creating a top-class,  contemporary hotel that merges the omnipresent testaments of the 1950s such as the Terrazzo tiles in the stairways with contemporary architectural elements and unconventional ideas. 
 

Monja Horrer

THE BAUWERK PRODUCT USED

The Unopark Collection

Unopark is the versatile classic. It comes in a wide range of colours and wood types offering virtually endless designs and installation possibilities. Whether in oak, maple, acacia or walnut, all Unopark products can be installed in the classically elegant herringbone pattern, bestowing a very special ambience to every room. Surfaces in the aged look or slightly brushed finish for a pleasant "barefoot feel", offer further possibilities for customisation.

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