Archer Humphryes designed the opulent interior and architecture of Sans Souci, a 63-room luxury hotel created within a 19th century building in Vienna’s Museum Quarter.

From the “La Véranda” restaurant, to “Le Bar”, the lodge’s personal cocktail bar, to the “Le Salon” and the generously designed Spa and conference , it is no surprise that it has won many prestigious awards with this newcomer being on par with historic hotels in the heart of the city.

The project draws on the city’s glorious decorative and artistic heritage to create a rich but relaxing environment throughout both public areas and three floors of residences at the top of the building. Archer Humphryes designed the lobby, bar, restaurant, private dining room, spa, and eight residences, which include a sixth floor penthouse with panoramic views across the city.

The design of Sans Souci required Archer Humphryes to balance the creative ambitions of hotel owner and art collector Norbert Winkelmayer with that of its client, Philppe Starck’s Yoo Design Studio as well as its own design vision. To add to the complexity, when Archer Humphryes was brought in by Yoo, renovation work had already begun on converting the 19th century building into a luxury, independent hotel. The practice’s design solution therefore had to adapt to decisions already made by the preceding Viennese team.

Archer Humphryes’ first task was to review the work of the first design team and Yoo’s ambitions for the project, and consider how to create an inviting, intimate hotel atmosphere within the grandiose spaces. The architect took as its starting point the noble tradition of Vienna’s grand hotels and classical palaces and the building’s own history as Hotel Høller in the late 19th century, taking particular care to ensure that the renovations of the exterior and interior preserved the character of the area.

The interior is conceived as a tribute to the city’s former cultural glories, drawing inspiration from both Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles. The opulent bar, reached off the lobby rotunda, was inspired by the “cabine glacé” of the 18th century Viennese palaces. Carved panelled and mirrored walls provide the endless reflection of points of light from the golden chandeliers, combined with decadent velvet furnishings. An amber glow of gold in the finishes embodies the entwinement of the lovers in the Vienna-based painter Gustav Klimt’s famous Kiss painting. The more restrained restaurant interior complements the bar in tone but is nonetheless full of rich details inspired by ornate Hapsburg-era interiors. These include a sycamore marquetry floor and wall reliefs with fluted pilasters that draw on the long Viennese tradition of craftsmanship.

Archer Humphryes worked closely with Norbert Winkelmayer on the choice of the new bespoke furniture in combination with both antiques and the client’s own collection of 20th century design classics, which include pieces by Carlo Mollino, Arne Jacobsen and Philippe Starck.

While looking back to Vienna’s past, the finished design is nonetheless strikingly modern, creating the elegant, luxurious and relaxing environment that has already helped it become one of Europe’s leading independent hotels.

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