|Project Name||Am Hof 8||Posted in||Interior Design||Location||
8 Am Hof
|Telephone||+43 1 909 4489||[email protected]||Completed||Sep 2022|
Billed as Vienna's first Private Members Club, Am Hof 8 may have opened its doors last September, more than three centuries after London’s oldest gentlemen's club was founded, but what it lacks in reputation it makes up for in the history of its venue. Located on Vienna’s historic Am Hof square, the Renaissance-style building that the clubhouse occupies was built in 1508, long before White’s opened its doors in 1693 in Mayfair. Known as the Kattus Haus, the property has been owned by the Kattus family for over three centuries. It was here that Johannes Kattus, “trader in delicacies”, opened his store in 1857 selling wine, coffee, tea, tropical fruits, caviar, spirits and champagne. In fact, his name is still emblazoned across the façade despite the store having closed a long time ago as the family-owned company transitioned to sparkling wine production. So, when Johannes’ namesake descendant and CEO of Kattus Group came up with the idea for a modern version of a gentlemen's club, it was a no-brainer as to where it would be housed.
Conceived as a place to socialise, exchange ideas and build connections, as much as a retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle, Am Hof 8’s facilities include restaurants, bars, meeting rooms and a shared workplace, plus five hotel rooms, a basement nightclub under the building’s Medieval barrel vaults, and a hidden rooftop terrace, each with its own unique decor courtesy of London-based Austrian interior designer Theresa Obermoser. Channelling Vienna’s rich cultural heritage through a cosmopolitan lens, Theresa paired vibrant colours with plush, velvety fabrics and exotic patterns, imbuing the clubhouse with a sense of opulent sophistication while instilling warmth and playfulness. Needless to say, membership at Am Hof 8, which takes its name from its illustrious address, is open to all genders and ages unlike its British predecessors.
The clubhouse is located on one of Vienna’s most historic squares, Am Hof, home to numerous landmarks including Collaltopalais, a late 17th century townhouse that hosted Mozart’s first ever public performance in Vienna in 1762, and Kirche am Hof, a church that dates back to the 14th-century. Towering over its neighbours when it was built in the early 16th century, the building at Am Hof 8 may have lost its moniker “High House" as taller structures rose around it later on – it’s now referred to as the Narrow House – but it has nevertheless retained its Renaissance character despite several renovations. Stretching over nine floors, including a basement level incorporating the remains of the former castle walls and parts of a roman wall, the transformation of the historic building into a Private Members Club was a demanding and painstaking undertaking that took Johannes and Theresa over three years to complete.
A desire to instil a sense of place by celebrating Vienna’s timeless sophistication and old-world elegance underpins Theresa’s interior design scheme; at the same time, she wanted to transport guests to an exotic place. “A local member wants to feel like this is something new and extraordinary and an international member wants to feel like he or she has arrived in Vienna”, she explains. To do so, she has imbued each space with its own unique character based on different colour schemes and set of references.
Custom-made furniture and wallpaper design further facilitate differentiation, as does a rotating art collection curated by Herwig Kempinger, former president of the Vienna Secession, and the mix of rough and soft textures like natural stone, ceramics and bronze, and velvet, silk and linen. It’s a testament to the designer’s keen eye for colour and composition that the richly decorated spaces feel neither overwhelming nor out-of-place despite the wide range of stylistic references and kaleidoscopic palette.
Theresa’s penchant for playful surprises is on full display the moment you enter the building. “When you arrive, you just see a very narrow, cute pink house with some French bistro chairs and a black and white canopy”, she says, but then you step inside to find yourself immersed into a lush, verdant stair lobby conceived as a homage to the Palmenhaus Schönbrunn, Vienna’s largest and most impressive greenhouse. A disco ball installation nestled among the vegetation beholds more surprises when it comes alive after the sun sets.
On the ground floor, the Birdie Bar is a moody oasis of grass green and blush pink hues centred on a Calacatta viola marble and rattan bar counter, with mosaic floor tiling and tropical-themed wallpaper adding to its exotic flair. Much lighter in tone, the adjoining brasserie is swathed in oak wood, beige travertine, baby blue velvet, with decorative wall panelling, basket weave parquet flooring and plush banquette seating giving out French vibes.
Featuring a sculptural timber ceiling and a stone hearth, the fine dining restaurant on the first floor speaks to the Grade-III listed building’s architectural heritage. A graphic wallpaper by Pierre Jeffries and mauve velvet booths with Brazilian black marble add a sense of modern solemnity. The adjacent private dining room is dominated by the custom-made zebra table, while the open plan kitchen is marked by the wood-panelled vent, monumental marble counter and red ceramic tiles.
Each of the five hotel rooms on the third floor is marked by a different colour scheme – yellow, blue, green, pink, purple – but share a nostalgic aesthetic of understated classical opulence. The rooms can be used for international members as well as local members who wish to host their international guests visiting Vienna.
Nestled below the medieval barrel vaults in the basement, the safari-themed nightclub is an homage to Vienna’s Schönbrunns zoo with plenty of wild animal prints, tropical plants and exotic wallpaper designs in the bathrooms. Additional facilities included a shared workspace equipped with a ping pong table that can also be used as a work table during the day, and a rooftop terrace, complete with a bar and outdoor shower, where members can soak in the sun while answering business calls or just relax with a bottle of wine to enjoy the views of Vienna’s skyline and St. Stephen's Cathedral. Swathed in peach and rose hues, the rooftop terrace rounds up a collection of unique spaces that take guests on an immersive journey without ever having to leave Vienna.