Design: steininger.designers, Pictures: Catherine Roider, Text: Barbara Jahn-Rösel
Angles can be challenging. But they can also engender a very stylish charm, as STEININGER's remodelling of a Vienna penthouse apartment demonstrates.
The original layout of the penthouse apartment acquired by an art lover was cramped and extremely angular. The three bedrooms were definitely too many, and the client was keen to introduce a more open feel. Having recognized the true potential of the almost 160 square metre apartment, and despite the many challenges posed by its slopes, edges and corners, the STEININGER team was able to restyle it into an exclusive residence with a loft-living ambience.
Given that the apartment was still a shell, the desired changes were feasible. Some walls included in the original layout could be moved, or taken out altogether, before the interior design work began. Some fundamental and refined modifications were made right from the entrance area: Introducing a kink of about 30 degrees opened up the narrow six metre long hallway somewhat to counteract any potential tunnel-like feel. To make the space feel even more expansive, the left side wall was completely covered with Parsol mirror glass, with the long wall on the right serving as a gallery setting for artworks. The design also incorporates a lighting track system, with spots angled precisely to highlight the artworks. Built into the mirrored wall that extends as far as the threshold to the living room is a – barely visible – door leading to the study. The study features a pull-out sofa, allowing it also to be used as a guest room.
As a workspace needing plenty of light, its design is brighter than the dark entrance area. All its surfaces were specified in matt white: to the left the custom-made desk; to the right cabinets for storage and housing the air conditioning unit. On the opposite side of the room is the guest bathroom, featuring light grey tiles and washbasin, accentuated and enhanced by a black Parsol glass shower screen and matt black shower fittings and accessories. This bathroom door is likewise concealed within a harmonious dark tobacco wood expanse of wall, extending from the entrance to the corner round to the cooking and dining area.
The two wall corners open up a new chapter in the interior design. At the end of the hallway, the room opens out broadly on both sides, drawing the living, cooking and eating spaces together. The central focal point of the living area is a fireplace made of Wisconsin White granite which reveals the dancing flames from three sides. The client wanted the natural stone to be easy to clean, be pleasurable to the touch, and provide a strong contrast to the light oak floor and dark tobacco wood. The large modular sofa in light grey Nabuk leather behind it is flanked by tobacco wood lowboards, each of which follows the line of the sloping roof down to the floor, creating a slight asymmetry in its function as a TV board or beneath an additional picture gallery. On the other side as the hallway broadens and opens out, the kitchen is revealed as an island installation, likewise clad in Wisconsin White granite, creating a visual counterpoint to the fireplace. All the kitchen appliances, as well as the wine cabinet, a separate work surface and pantry door, are concealed behind the floor-to-ceiling tobacco wood frontages, which can be pulled around the corner from the anteroom at this point to make the kitchen disappear completely if desired. “It was important to underscore these spatial relationships through the materials, like the natural stone, the wood, and the glass,” comments Martin Steininger. Opposite the kitchen island is the dining area, featuring the STEININGER PLUSTABLE in lacquered matt white. The Nabuk leather chairs and the carpet echo the light grey of the sofa and the bathroom tiles. The continuity of materials extends down to the last detail.
“Although it’s a single space, the design visually separates the living and dining areas from each other, creating two distinct zones. It’s nevertheless essential to create a relationship between them.” Martin Steininger
The bedroom is fully aligned with the geometry of the living area, meaning that the bed is not oriented in line with the actual architecture, but at a slight angle. The head of the bed has been shortened, and the resultant triangular space behind it occupied by an attractive floor lamp. Given that the client wished to maximize the open feel in the bedroom area, too, and wanted an integrated sauna, the idea arose to style the bathroom as a largely transparent feature. The bathtub is free-standing, while the shower gives access to the sauna, which was custom-made in conjunction with a master glazier and sauna designer. The shower and sauna are housed together in a cube of black Parsol glass. This is provides a sense of intimacy, yet retains the spatial flow. Behind the glass cube is a spacious dressing room, as the finishing touch to the most private space in the apartment.
Outdoor living with a view
The design also provides a space to enjoy physical and mental well-being in the open air, with a jacuzzi and outdoor shower installed on the terrace in front of the kitchen and dining area looking down onto the inner courtyard. It was designed by landscape and garden specialists Kramer & Kramer. A spiral staircase leads up to the apartment’s roof terrace, fitted out with four modules from the STEININGER ROCK. AIR outdoor kitchen, which the client also intends to use for events.