Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Travel & Design Inspiration from Vienna, the HOTEL SACHER

Hotel Sacher Vienna is one of the world's great luxury hotels in one of Europe's most culturally significant cities.  It is a city of musicians, artists, and architects.  Vienna, or Wien, is the capital and the largest city of Austria with a population of about 1.7 million.  The city's roots lie in the early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a medieval and baroque city.  Beautiful.

Music is one of Vienna's legacies with musical prodigies including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg just to name a few.

There are a multitude of museums in Vienna including the Hofburg, which is the location of the Imperial Treasury holding the imperial jewels of the Habsburg dynasty (or Habsburg monarchy or House of Austria), the Leopold Museum, the Museum of the Romans, the Military History Museum, the Hermesvilla (a palace and former hunting area for the Habsburg nobility, called the "castle of dreams") , and the residences and birth places of various composers housed under the umbrella of the Vienna Museum.

Vienna is the last great capital of the nineteenth-century ball.  There are over 200 balls per year, some featuring as many as nine live orchestras!

Some of the most famous tourist attraction include imperial palaces, the Lipizzaner horses, more than 100 art museums, various residences of composers who lived in Vienna including Beethoven's, and the Vienna Boys Choir.

And for me it's only two hours from Salzburg, the home of Sound of Music Tour which includes the Trapp Family homes and film locations. Can't you hear Julie Andrews singing, "The Hills are alive with the sound of music..."  You can easily travel from Vienna to Salzburg by rail. 

The gorgeous Hotel Sacher location is within easy reach of the Art & Culture heart of Vienna and makes for a lovely home base from which to explore.  The rooms are divine and "provide the highest standard of comfort, superb service and every modern technology and amenity that our guests from all around the world need." - Hotel Sacher

I was first introduced to the Hotel Sacher from Aerin Lauder's Instagram.  Her father, Ronald Lauder, was named as the US ambassador to Austria in 1986 and she recently showed a wonderful picture of her father at the Sacher Hotel cutting a piece of his birthday cake.

Every picture I found was more beautiful than the next and full of design ideas and design details, and the views!  Sigh.

Sheets of marble, stunning chandeliers, well appointed rooms, terraced en plein air dining, restaurants, and a European spa which boast a chocolate experience, leaving me wanting to book a flight and a stay.  But until then, I will go back to each photo and really look at all the design inspirations and dream.  Enjoy!

I hope it's lovely where you are...

xx Rié

Thursday, January 22, 2015

floral design YASMINE: A Still Life


*All floral design and photos by YASMINE floral design

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Architects Bobby McAlpine & David Baker, and Designer Susan Ferrier bring the appeal of Provenance to Austin: laV Restaurant

When Texas couple, Ralph and Lisa Eads, dreamed of opening a sophisticated dining destination in order to share their love of food and hospitality, they knew they wanted the famed architects Bobby McAlpine and his colleague David Baker, of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture, to head up the project.  The concept was to design a series of three rhythmic spaces or "rooms" at laV restaurant in the Eastside of Austin, Texas.  Located in an urban renewal warehouse district, the restaurant resides in a neo-industrial building modeled after a 1920's warehouse, with a brick-painted exterior, radiant steel windows, and steel entry door.  

laV is surrounded by rolling green hills, a historic cemetery, and an organic kitchen garden.  The architectural design came from direct conversations with the clients; Architect David Baker described the space as a "Gathering of life".

Designer Susan Ferrier of McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors, created a warm, captivating interior with an intimate ambiance and a casual terraced outdoor dining space.  The conversation between line, form, and volume of the architecture reads as masculine; the interiors have a feminine feel with tufted banquetes, handblown-glass lamps, mohair portiers, gorgeous chandeliers, and paintings of the lush French countryside envelope you in a rich and satisfying dining experience.

"The architecture is masculine," designer Susan Ferrier notes
"but the interiors have a feminine feel"

Much of the success of the interior lay in how Ms. Ferrier treated color, employing one neutral to play up the architecture in one space, and another neutral to play down the formality in another.  A sweep of color across the walls and curtains accented with an industrial feel, and balanced by gilt mirrors, tongue and grove painted walls, and glamorous chandeliers, is at once both rustic and refined.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Architect David Baker, who exceeded my expectation of a gracious Southern gentlemen and a famed architect, and who was, at once, generous with his time and his vast knowledge of architecture.  Throughout our conversation he would use the word transparency.  Transparency in architecture is not the same as looking straight through a building, it's not just a physical idea, it's also an intellectual one.  McAlpine and Baker masterfully framed each "room" with a 10 foot framed opening, as a design lending transparency and lightness to the restaurant in its entire.  It's flat gorgeous!

The result is laV is a beautiful restaurant that is visually discerning and offers a rustic yet refined cuisine inspired by Provence.  Emphasizing the ingredients of the season, the food by Executive Chef Allison Jenkins is at once both simple and soulful; the seductive desserts by Executive Pastry Chef Janina O'Leary add a sophisticated conclusion to the entire experience.  In addition to the food, Advanced Sommelier Vilma Mazaite along with owner Ralph Eads created, "one of the great wine programs in America." - from compelling value to uncompromising quality; with offerings from their favorite producers.

"Gathering of life" - Architect David Baker

Mr. Baker described the rooms as "Maturing in progress", if this is what maturing looks like I am all for it. 

My sincere thanks to McAlpine Tankersley Architecture for their unmerited kindness, and for always being a great source of inspiration for me.  To Mr. Richard Norris, Business & Marketing, thank you for your direction and subtle wit, that helped put me at ease, well at least as much as possible.  And a special thank you to architect David Baker, whose generous knowledge and resources were invaluable.

For more inspiration from these talented Architecture and design firms, you can see the post: Bobby McAlpine Light and Old World Refinement: A South African Cape Dutch Home HERE

I hope it's lovely where you are...

All the best, 

xx Rié

349 Peachtree Hills Avenue NE, Suite D1
Atlanta, GA 30305
Tel: 404.501.9200| Fax: 404.501.9288

124 Twelfth Ave South, Number 310
Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: 615.259.1222| Fax: 615.259.1250

1133 Broadway, Suite 220
New York, NY 10010
Tel: 212.414.1272| Fax: 212.414.1273

The Pacific Building
501 Cloverdale Road, Suite 201
Montgomery, AL 36106
V: 334.262.8315   F: 334.262.8311

*All photos from the laV Restaurant

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