‘It’s different!’ in Hotel Daniel Vienna; the unusual is usual and the usual doesn’t exist. There is a medley of styles that fits into a perfect picture which is quite opposite of heavy and grand. The simple spartan appeal is termed ‘Smart Luxury’ adhered by architecture and hospitality alike.
Old fashioned aluminium curtain walling with a boat plunging from the rooftop, Vespa bikes in the parking, tomatoes in the gardens – these are the first glimpses of Hotel Daniel Vienna. Quirky, eccentric, unconventional, whacky, bohemian – adjectives fall short to describe its truly unique spirit; an antithesis of everything a typical hotel brags about.
Owner and Hotelier, Florian Weitzer believes that ‘exaggerated hospitality and pompous designs are unnecessary, especially for the modern traveller. What people want is simplicity and a place where they can feel comfortable and welcomed.’ So ‘smart luxury’ came into being, and the architecture followed suit.
German architectural firm, Atelier Heiss Architekten renovated the building originally designed by Georg Lippert and Roland Rohn, to accommodate 115 rooms and other spaces. The new architecture retains most of the frontal facade, and has recreated selected facade axes on the rear side too.
For Atelier Heiss the gentle and sustainable treatment of the architectural structure was a matter of great importance. Hence after much thought and effort, the team devised the final design which is much like a trinket box, with a bit of everything, set in a style that may seem random in the beginning but slowly fits into the full picture perfectly.
The world of Daniel Vienna begins at the ground floor lobby that shares its space with a melange of explorative opportunities – bar, coffee shop, bakery, the hotel shop and lounge areas, adhering to ‘smart luxury’ principle. The large warehouse-loft like space is carpeted in rustic oak floor boards, a white ceiling and open services; the glass facade renders a light and airy look.
To set the urban hotel in the former Hoffmann-La Roche building, the architects had to redo and reposition several structural elements. In order to restore the original monolithic appearance, the connecting stairwell to the rear adjacent building was taken down.
This granted a proper positioning within the urban landscape. Then, a second staircase was added in the middle of the building that served as additional reinforcement and as an escape route.
The predetermined axis of the original plan, though redesigned, required some inventive solution to accommodate the desired number of rooms; hence the final floor plan has a succession of rooms with alternating bed side views and bath side views.
For rooms, there are five choices – Smart, Hammock, Panorama, Belvedere and Trailer, each characteristic to its namesake. The rooms are an epitome of minimalist and comfort oriented styles, reduced to essentials – white spaces in combination with warm wooden furniture and open service elements. Devoid of heavy interiors, the spaces drenched in sunlight are intriguing in their bucolic and familiar countenance.
The team elucidate, “The individual merits of each room type exemplify contemporary luxury. ‘Smart’ is simply smart – with regard to its relaxed price and room décor, ‘Hammock’ features a hammock and ‘Panorama’ offers plenty of light and panoramic views.”
But by far the best and most unique room of the hotel is the ‘Trailer’, placed directly in front of the patio.
Known as the ‘island’, this 1952 22ft Silver Creek Clipper has been converted into a room, complete with all modern facilities and a perfect match to the building facade. The polished aluminium mirror finish reflects the green spread rampant around it, and gives an illusion of camping out.
The urban garden where the trailer is parked is another example of how ‘different’ things are at Daniel Vienna. Detailed topiary, colourful flowerbeds or manicured green patches do not make the landscape, instead eccentricity materialises in the form of vegetable patches and vines.
Added to the crazy ideas, are live honeybees that make their home on the 7th floor rooftop and keep company with the plunging boat. Created by Artist Erwin Wurm and his team. this boat has now become a symbol and the most widely visible part of the hotel.
Hotel Daniel Vienna is singular in expression and is a one of a kind hotel; one wonders exactly what the theme is out here, only to realise gradually that the designers have given us the perfect potpourri thereby conceiving a charming, warm and welcoming space, much like the city of Vienna itself.
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs Courtesy The Architects