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Funky Friday: The 3D Art Ceiling At Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom

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  Site Where: Praterstrabe 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
August 15, 2014 at 5:03 PM | by | ()

Consider a neck massage after an evening stroll or during a stay at Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, whose ceilings come alive like we've never seen before but would like to

Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for, and often find, a lot of wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.

We’ve been looking for— and think we have found—a worthy Funky Friday subject that is especially eye catching from the outside. It would be almost impossible not to be drawn to this extravaganza of color, light, and imagery that is free to guests and passersby of Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom. Things are definitely looking up at this hotel, as these expressive ceilings clearly dominate the lobby lounge, Le Loft Restaurant on the 18th floor, even the drive-up entrance court.

The Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom is a 3D living art piece, the result of a brilliant collaboration of diverse, and fairly well known, talents. The building was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel (who this week put another candle on his birthday cake - bon anniversaire Monsieur Nouvel!) along with local firm Neumann et Partner. Nouvel’s multifaceted and timeless design for the hotel was reportedly inspired by its namesake, medieval St. Stephen's Cathedral, but it is really a celebration of modern art.

The illuminated ceilings (and other features in the hotel) are the creation of Swiss visual artist Pipilotti Rist, who specializes in video and moving imagery. So here’s the good part and the bad part. The graphics staring down from these ceilings, comprised of constantly changing LED lights, are video animated which sounds funky cool in theory. It’s just that we can’t demonstrate here what that actually looks like in motion.

What we can say is that Rist's inspiration for this installation at the very least incorporates imagery from gardens and nature. One of the major visuals in the lobby lounge ceiling (see photo) is the giant hand grasping a piece of fruit. Our guess off hand is that this may be a reference to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. If not, then what?

[Photos: Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom]

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