Restaurant Henrici
Eisenstadt, Burgenland

Context and Spatial relationships

The restaurant, with accompanying event space, is located on Esterházyplatz in one of the auxiliary buildings facing the palace and defining the nearly symmetrical square. This loggia-fronted building dates to the eighteenth century and originally housed the princely family’s horses and official coaches.

The design of the outdoor area in front of the restaurant responds to the square and the ensemble with respect to scale and incorporates references to the symmetry.
Analogous to the hedge bordering the right side, on the left – at the restaurant’s extended terrace area – the paving is differentiated. This marks the positions of the servers’ bar and the patrons’ bar, and provides a framework for planters and additional service modules. The main path to the restaurant leads through the middle, accompanied by four subordinate radial paths.
Four parasols – their generous dimensions corresponding to the scale of the setting – provide shade; these horizontal elements have slender steel columns which do not compete with the classical columns in the portico.

Interior spaces

The central theme of the design is making the conversion – from horse stable to culinary establishment – discernible. This transfer occurs, on the one hand, on an architectural (spatial) level, and on the other hand, through the material scheme and visual language.
The three different interior spaces – entrance area, restaurant and an event space – are re-structured by the custom furniture and the material and color scheme, but the building itself is not altered. The design concept helps foster a sense of the historic setting.

In the entrance area, a built-in element of intermediate height is tapered conically toward the paired glass doors, creating a forced perspective and an inviting entrée, while also serving as a screen to the restrooms. The indirect lighting draws attention to the space as a whole.

In the restaurant, the built-in furniture creates different zones for the patrons without blocking the view to the fountain at the far end of the room.
A sail suspended from the ceiling places emphasis on the longitudinal axis and conceals technical equipment (ventilation, acoustics). It also incorporates the indirect and direct lighting. The indirect lighting illuminates the original vaults, accentuating the space in its entirety, and reinforces the sail’s loftiness. With respect to content, the ceiling element takes its cues from the “vestiges” theme, making reference both to a timeline (leaving traces), as well as to the space’s former function (horse stables, imprints of hooves).

The event space is multi-functional. Here the emphasis was on refurbishing the existing building; interventions were limited to the essentials. Therefore, the measures implemented enhanced the acoustics and lighting. In addition, in order to provide a preparation zone for the servers, an appendage was introduced at the threshold to the kitchen.

Client: F.E. Familien-Privatstiftung Eisenstadt
Floor area: 420 m2, terrace and loggia 290 m2
Planning: Architektin Irmgard Frank
Staff: DI Karin Urban, DI Gerald Eichinger, Alexandar Manakoski
Graphic design of sail: Bohatsch Visual Communication
Light consultant: DI Klaus Pokorny
Start of planning: December 2008
Completion: April 2009
Photo: Margherita Spiluttini