Sofitel Vienna is a masterpiece clearly destined to be the Sofitel flagship in Europe. In the world, in fact. An avant-garde architectural splendor that towers over the heart of a capital steeped in history. Overlooking the ancient city, with views across the Danube, a stone’s throw from the sloping roofs of the cathedral.
Architect or artist? Jean Nouvel is French in any case, with some of the most spectacular buildings in the world to his name: the Institut du Monde Arab in Paris, the Agbar Tower in Spain, the Dentsu Tower in Tokyo… he is also architect in charge of the grandiose Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. His meteoric career has been recompensed by the most prestigious prizes, such as the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
“I am very privileged to have been able to construct this hotel right in the heart of Vienna because in a city so deeply influenced by history, for me, architecture is an opportunity to take part in an adventure commenced by others a few centuries or a few years ago,” announces the master architect by way of introduction. A building of distinction, standing 18 floors high, supported by first 5 floors, to see out or be seen in, thanks to vertical bays flanked by two sloping planes. The hotel appears to dialogue with the city. At least that is the architect’s intent. – “I wanted to create a form of dialogue that made sense, and a sensitive response.”
Aside from this singular and elevated direction, the project design is a celebration of light, and reflection of light. Inside and out.. Another exchange. Sleek flat façades, all playing from a monochromatic score that varies according to its orientation: gray for the south façade, black for the west, white for the north, translucid the east. A real-life abstract work of art, on show daily to hotel guests and the citizens of Vienna. Each stormy July sky, pale, snowy winter morning or flaming red sunset reveals a multitude of everchanging facets. The ultimate original feature is the top floor: completely open to light, with walls replaced by glass partitions. Towering above the city and flirting with the horizon, this space is to house Le Loft, the hotel lounge restaurant directed by 3-starred French chef Antoine Westermann, who firmly intends it to become The Place to Be in Vienna. Inside, the building clearly succeeds in creating the same original complementarity with corresponding harmony. Three types of guestroom echo the facades: northfacing rooms in immaculate white, southfacing rooms in gray, while on the west façade there are even three rooms entirely decorated in black from floor to ceiling, including the walls and furniture. No guestroom faces east. A total of 182 rooms, with 26 suites. Another visual reflection can be found in the Presidential Suite dining room also in…black. The first five floors of the hotel house the public areas: lobby, winter garden, atrium, meeting rooms and wellbeing space (Spa and Fitness). On the other side of this building, three floors are entirely set aside for Stilwerk, the German publisher and designer of contemporary objects.
Inside space acquires extraordinary dimensions. Spectacular volumes open up perspectives to give the spectator a free new vista. As in the atrium, with its large glass façade, coloured ceiling and proportions that create the sensation of being outside in the open, with direct views across the city.
To work on this hotel dedicated to contemporary art, Jean Nouvel has characteristically gathered a team of bright young talent. Like Pipilotti Rist (see below) the contemporary Swiss artist, in charge of creating five colorful animated ceilings as well as a highly original kaleidoscope on the 5th floor, using a special technique and integrating a play of mirrors. The idea being, of course, to introduce colour into the hotel via contemporary and ultra-innovative techniques.
The Swiss artist has signed five ceilings, including the one above the restaurant: a painted canvas stretching across the entire length of the floor, backlit from inside, allowing the hotel watch over the nights of Vienna. Pipilotti Rist also applied her inimitable style to the lobby and the winter gardens.
Juxtaposing the light and colour playing in the entrance, in the imposing atrium as well as on the top floor, nature has taken root; Patrick Blanc, specialist and creator of the concept, signs a 600 sqm “living” wall, a vertical garden that perfectly matches the glass walls and the volumes.
New, innovative and unique in Vienna, this radically contemporary structure is a revolution in the traditional hotel sector. Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom invites you to sleep in a work of art. The esthetic and graphic architectural lines reveal a constant quest for pure simplicity, blending the contemporary with serenity. French architect Jean Nouvel contacted Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, vertical garden creator Patrick Blanc and students from the Vienna Fine Arts School. All these artists used their creativity and savoir faire to make this hotel into a fundamentally original and exceptional place.
« Non –colours » that Jean Nouvel calls « almost nothing » are the leitmotif of the bedrooms and the very essence of the concept. Jean Nouvel used the same colour for the floors, walls and ceilings of the guestrooms. There are rooms that are all white, all gray or all black.. Minimalist and monochromatic, they redefine the contours of the traditional luxury hotel.
Inside the 182 guestrooms and suites at the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, Jean Nouvel designed a system of sliding partitions that allows guests to select the size of the window openings which can be closed, minimal or large format. So travellers can choose an entirely personal view of Vienna.
From view to touch. New sensorial components are used to form a silky, velvety surface christened Soft Touch, covering partitions, floors and ceilings. Jean Nouvel signs a unique artistic environment, with original mural inscriptions inspired by the famous graphic art of Viennese artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and videos produced by art students in each of the 182 guestrooms
The 75 square metre Prestige Suite offers an individual sitting room with a breathtaking view of St Stephen’s Cathedral. The 180 square metre Suite Magnifique boasts a 180 degree view of Vienna. This space is decorated entirely in black and white and includes a 12-seater dining room, fully equipped kitchen, separate sitting room, four flat-screen televisions and a Wellness bathroom with a whirlpool and hammam. To guarantee an incomparably luxurious 5 star stay, all rooms are equipped with High speed internet connection, flat tv screen, Bose Wave Music system, Nespresso machine, separate bath and shower, Hermes toiletries in the bathrooms, and the exclusive MyBed concept bySofitel.
In addition to the creative formal structure of the building, the automation is a feat. Exemplified by the water evaporation cooling system used under the diamond-shaped slanted roofs and the automatic watering system for the living wall from a ancient natural source.