The festive season will make nostalgic fools out of most of us, and I reckon even cutting edge minimalists don’t stand a chance in Vienna. And why even resist when the old-world charm is presented with such elegance and proper Austrian poshness? Relax, take it in, and let the smell of fresh coffee, the sound of horses’ hooves on the cobbled streets, the sight of mink coats and hats at every corner — the most stylish of which undoubtedly from White Line Hotels’ Collaborator Mühlbauer Hutmanufaktur — not to mention the Christmas markets and a pre-dinner tipple of Glühwein at the renowned Café Bräunerhof, lull you into submission. Good job there was no snow or we would have become hysterical with pleasure and gratitude.
At the beginning of the month, cycling through a park, I came across a flash mob doing a silent rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The movements — and in particular the “raised-monster-hand twist” move — have become so ubiquitous, that it took me about 5 seconds to recognize what they were doing. If that. Now that’s what I call a case for Collective Memory! And maybe even Meme Theory…
With 7 days to go until All Hallows’ Eve, and even fewer until the best parties this coming weekend, you could sit at home with a copy of this cocktail recipe list (you’ve never seen a Martini like an Eyeball-tini!), find the Thriller video on YouTube, and channel some sort of zombie-Tom Cruise from Cocktail – OR — you can just make that the pre-party and head out to some of the more interesting Halloween parties White Line Hotels destination cities have to offer.
In London? Maybe you’ve found yourself strolling down Mare Street and seen the Last Tuesday Society Shop. If you have, then you already know why any Halloween party they’re throwing is probably pretty awesome. Their Danse Macabre is this coming Friday. The dress code: “the beautiful and the damned”. The Venue: a forgotten Art Deco picture palace in Elephant and Castle. Need more persuading? Check out the video on their shop’s website.
In New York? Spend at least one Halloween in your life at the famous vortex of artistic death and destruction that is the Hotel Chelsea. Once again this year you can pull up your bar stool next to the ghosts of Dylan Thomas and Nancy Spungen at the Chelsea Room for a $10 cover charge (and an open bar until 10pm). What night? Halloween itself, of course — the 31st.
In Vienna? Not so into going out drinking and dancing all night? Craving something frightfully refined? Then book for the Halloween dinner at Palais Esterházy. Enjoy a themed buffet dinner alongside music and readings.
Alexander Ehrmann, the man behind White Line Hotels Collaborator Saint Charles Apothecary, approaches health as a circle of wellbeing. We caught up with him recently to ask more about his approach to tradition in the modern world — and no, not even at the pharmacy must the 2 exist separately. At least at Saint Charles.
I understand that you’re a 6th generation pharmacist. At what moment did you realize you wanted to follow into the “family business”?
Never. I just got ‘drawn’ into it. At a certain moment I realized that I like to work with people on an ‘eye to eye’ basis. Maybe this is a reason why we run a restaurant too.
Do you feel that this long tradition in your own family is responsible for your pharmaceutical philosophy?
Definitely. From very early stages I had my own ideas how to get in ‘touch’ with my clients. As a pharmacists you get as close to the people as hardly anybody. This is a great chance and we feel that we have something like a ‘contract’ with our clients.
What does “tradition” mean to you?
A lot. I find it extremely thrilling to deal with the term tradition without any ‘blinkers’. I don’t wear lederhosn, I don’t know how to yodel. Paracelsus is the ancestor of our work. To bring his ideas, his work, his products into the 21st century is a wonderful assignment.
I read someone describe what you do at Saint Charles as “LOHAS” (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). What do you think about that?
Maybe 4-5 years ago somebody told us ’what you do is so lohas’. What? I had never heard about lohas before. People feel that traditional medicine is something they can trust, they get in touch with their own roots. Very often we get the weirdest feedbacks. You touch people with traditional medicine completely different than with ‘conventional’ methods. Never play hardball with amateurs. That’s what my professor at the Istituto di Chimica Farmaceutica in Perugia had written on his desk. What this means for me? You have to be professionally trained, the whole staff has to be at a level of knowledge that rocks. Nothing, absolutely nothing is superficial.
There’s a saying that “prevention is the best medicine”. How true do you think that is?
Very true. How you live, what you eat, what kind of medicine you take. It’s all one circle.
You have several own-brand products at Saint Charles. Can you tell me a little bit about the ranges and how they were developed?
When I was a little boy I had to work in my parents cellar. It was dark. It was illegal. They would’nt care. Work had to be done. That was the beginning of the SAINT CHARLES product range. Meanwhile we have the ranges ‘from outside’, ‘from inside’ and ‘from between’. Beauty products (cream, oil, soap, tonics……) are from outside. Capsules, tonicas etc are from inside and products like our own wine, vinegar, olive oil etc are from between.
How important do you think food is in a comprehensive approach to health and wellbeing? And on that note, can you tell me something about the Alimentary, the “Pharmacy Restaurant”?
The circle of wellbeing, as mentioned above. That’s all what matters.
We have a wonderful farmhouse, one hour south of Vienna. The herbs we find there can be used in our homemade medicines, you can use them in cosmetic products and you can eat them. It’s a bingo! And it’s the main reason why we operate, besides the pharmacy, our cosmothecary plus the hideaway ( 100% organic brands only!)and our little Wirtshaus (meaning ‘like at home’).
We either plant the vegetables and fruits ourselves and if not, we know the producers of the staple food on a personal basis. Call them friends. No supermarket! Without any exceptions!
What can we look forward to in the future for Saint Charles?
End of September: opening of the bakery ‘Joseph’ in the first district. Absolutely wonderful bread and cookies. All organic. With lot’s of SAINT CHARLES ingredients.
Another SAINT CHARLES pharmacy due to be opened in Berlin, Prenzlauerberg.
Within the next 2-3 months: opening of a SAINT CHARLES Hofladen. In cooperation with the Biohof Adamah. Opposite the pharmacy, in the Gumpendorfertstrasse, close to the Naschmarkt
You’ll find the marriage of traditional and modern thinking in perfect balance at Hollmann Beletage, White Line Hotels pick in Vienna.
Nurturing talent is clearly where it’s at. Not sure about you, but recently I’ve been coming across an increasing number of platforms and showcases that are solely and entirely dedicated to the young, their talent and the development and support thereof. This phenomenon appears to be spreading at a particularly fast rate within the creative sector, from fashion to furniture, from interiors to graphics – so if you’re young, creative and good, the conditions are excellent and your chances of getting exactly the right support in order to emerge successfully as a contender on the international design scene, couldn’t really be better. Cue design spotlight on Vienna from the 14th to the 16th October – where young creativity is pooled big-time within the superbly appointed blickfang international design fair.
The blickfang concept was launched a few years ago and has since established itself quite firmly as one of the most important international design events. It stands out from other design trade fairs as it welcomes not only trade visitors but also the general public; visitors are invited to explore new design resources, be inspired and also purchase directly from this new generation of carefully selected designers. So far blickfang venues have included Stuttgart, Basel, Vienna and Zurich – from 2012 the map broadens with the addition of new venues in Hamburg and Kopenhagen. Visit www.blickfang.com for updates and the latest on forthcoming dates and venues.
Next month’s blickfang sees the start of a curatorship by Stefan Diez, Munich-based interior designer, and his wife Saskia Diez, award-winning jewellery designer. As Curators of the Year, the renowned couple will lend their guidance and support to all four blickfang events over a period of one year, offering advice and answering questions on creativity and design at each event in Stuttgart, Basel, Vienna and Zurich.
Underlining the “nurture and promote” concept, the Vienna event will feature regular blickfang highlights such as:
blickfang design award – where a winning product is nominated and subsequently featured for several months at the prestigious MAK (Austrian Museum of Contemporary and Applied Arts) Design Shop
blickfang selected – five specially selected young designers are given the opportunity to exhibit free of charge and present their products to the general public and trade visitors
blickfang promotes – young design graduates, industry novices and innovators who would not usually have the possibility to exhibit at such an event, are given the opportunity to present their products and concepts through the support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture.
See you in Vienna!
Another spot in Vienna where creativity is pooled big-time? White Line Hotels edit The Hollmann Beletage, of course!
Contributing writer: Stefanie Soar
Photos courtesy blickfang
We asked, you answered — What’s your best tip for a spot that’s 100% Vienna, loved by locals, only found by tourists who call “tourism” the “t-word”? These are the spots on the edge of the radar, and this is Living On The Edge: Vienna: The Insider Tips: Report #2!
PHIL is kind of the ultimate hang-out. Bar/Bookshop with with Djs, and they play movies too! Don’t miss that one at Gumpendorferstrasse 10 – 12.
ARENA “Entertainment and confrontation.” And from what you tell us, the ex-slaughter house and is now the best venue in town for parties and concerts. Baumgasse 80.
LOOS Some say that in Vienna there isn’t a bar, there is only one bar … Loos American Bar. Find it at Kärntner Durchgang 10.
GEBRÜDER STITCH is where to stop if you’re always on the hunt for the pair of perfect jeans. Two former marketing guys gave up their jobs and their apartments to make this dream come true — now let them make your dream come true. Gaudenzdorfergürtel 35.
WILD is a Heuriger that’s slightly off the beaten track but always enjoyable day or night. Great food, great service, brilliant atmosphere. Amtstrasse 1-3.
CODED CULTURES is for a limited time only (until next year, at least!). From now until the 2nd of October, experience the city as interface.
Got a tip to share? Drop us a line and you could win a fab weekend for 2 in the ever so cool Austrian hub and a brand new laptop folio from our partners at HARD GRAFT.