April showers bring May flowers: green plants and comfy seating are now an inviting addition to the Goldenes Quartier. Inviting people not just to shop, but to relax and enjoy the wonders of nature, too. The person responsible for this new look is Katrin Einwaller, who is literally helping the Goldenes Quartier to flourish. Raised in a family of architects and structural engineers, today she runs the architecture and interior design atelier at Christian L. Einwaller.
Training Architecture degree at the TU Wien, graduating in interior design under Francoise Helen Jourda
Favourite project The sky’s the limit. I’m still patiently waiting for that contract to come my way…
Favourite pioneering designer Coco Chanel
What have your largest projects been to date?
The Hotel Eichenheim in Kitzbühel, the Hotel Herrenhof in Vienna and various private residences in Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein and the Dominican Republic. A few city palace projects in Vienna or The Moon in Abu Dhabi.
You’re now decorating the Goldenes Quartier with plants and furniture. What challenges do you face when furnishing an outdoor space?
At the Goldenes Quartier, one of the most spectacular projects in the city of Vienna in recent years, it was necessary to focus on what was already there and to blend in to the surroundings. The materials must be able to stand up to both heavy wear by delivery vehicles and everyday use, while at the same time being absolutely premium quality.
Which international shopping streets inspire you?
I find European Grätzeln (neighbourhoods), as the Viennese say, very inspiring. Whether it’s Chelsea in London or Vienna’s city centre. As for classic shopping streets, I’d have to say the Via Monte Napoleone in Milan or 5th Avenue in New York.
Which brings us on to weather: in Vienna the temperature difference between summer and winter can easily be as much as 30 or 40 degrees. What role does that play when you’re planning outdoor projects?
We have to change the flowering plants several times a year. In the winter, for example, because of the different light conditions, we use hardy groundcover plants. And in the summer we use flowering plants that have to be watered regularly. Of course we can’t have olive trees, oleanders or fields of lavender all year round. But our four seasons and all the traditions that come with them, combined with domestic plant varieties, give us a wealth of ideas to choose from anyway.
Imagine for a moment that no permits are necessary and there are no municipal authorities to deal with in Vienna. If anything were possible, what would be your dream for the Goldenes Quartier?
Classic boulevards. But that wasn’t possible because of the conditions – for example the depth of the soil you can plant in and the delivery vehicles.
Which three sensations would you like new visitors to associate with the redecorated Goldenes Quartier?
Feeling at ease. Hanging out. Enjoying. In the outdoor seating areas around the cafés and restaurants, too, which are currently being constructed. And intimacy. An inner-city oasis of light, air and nature.
How will the project continue? Is there a phase 2?
Yes, seasonal designs! We have quite a few ideas.
Who are your role models in terms of design and architecture?
All bespoke ‘tailors’ who can listen and respond to building owners’ wishes. I don’t like self-promoters. The great Bauhaus architects whose planning followed the maxim ‘Form follows function’ should be and remain role models. It should not be the building structure that defines the architecture, but the building owner. It’s also always important to aim for a certain degree of timelessness.
Which city is, in your opinion, the epitome of good urban development?
Vienna! So much has happened here in recent years. Being Viennese born and bred, I’m naturally proud of my home city, but lots of our international friends and clients give me the same feedback.