What first springs to mind when you think of Austria? The ornate 19th Century arches of the Vienna State Opera building? Mulled wine sipped from steaming glass mugs in a snow-frosted Christmas market? Or a tropical style beach paradise, complete with cocktails with tiny umbrellas in them? It’s safe to say that the latter image wouldn’t be where most people’s minds would immediately go; however, just because Austria doesn't have its own beach paradises doesn't mean its creative people don't know a thing or two about putting one together. In fact, just such a paradise has been built by Attnang Puchheim-based architects ChristianBogner GMBH Living Art. These are the creators of the unabashedly fabulous and unflinchingly upbeat Ganvie Beach House. Curious? Well, slip on your shades, because things are about to get bright.
Thatched parasols, laid-back decking, summer bright chairs and crazy drinks: all the ingredients of a tropical beachside holiday are to be found right here.
Notice how, despite their wacky colouring, the basket-like form of the chairs is a very contemporary one, offering a creative update to the standard folding deckchair we might normally expect in an environment such as this one.
Down on the sand, palm trees and wooden beach loungers keep the mood sunny.
The winding path formed by the decking leads up to the beach club as if up to a sacred temple.
Inside, the gentle, restrained woodwork of the ceiling acts as the perfect counterpoint to the zany brightness of the cheerful multicoloured lights that hang in clusters from it. Cow hide chairs and roughly hewn wooden side tables, meanwhile, accentuate the sense of carefree holiday fun you might expect from any beachfront bar.
The sun above is always the extra – and very welcome – guest at any party in this beach house, thanks to the gorgeous structure of the ceiling with its generous use of glass.
There’s no denying that these faintly psychedelic sixties-inspired armchairs clash enormously with the sober leather couches seen in the background, but in the overall context of this interior it’s a clash that works. It simply serves to enhance the message that this is a place in which anything goes; a place in which everyday concerns can be well and truly put aside.
Seeing them all hanging together like this, the inspiration for these pod-like lights – it can only have been seaweed – suddenly comes into focus.
If one is going to choose a printed statement wallpaper for a chilled-out beach house, it’s probably not going to be all that hard to decide roughly which theme to go with. These lobsters and turtles are the natural choice, and the right one.