Always one step ahead

Interview with HDW manager Peter Zechner

©HDW

Located only ten minutes from Salzburg’s city centre and one minute from the motorway is where the historic halls of a former bell founders’ workshop now house stylish design. The huge showroom of HDW Hotel & Design Werkstatt does not just contain the latest design from all over the world – behind the scenes it also serves as a huge network of more than 70 high-class businesses. In his interview with La Loupe, manager and visionary Peter Zechner speaks about new business models, the innovative project INOVUM and the company’s pending name change.

L.L. / You and your partners Michael Mayer and Walter Raboch own HDW Hotel & Design workshop in the Gusswerk foundry which is backed by the common success of around 70 companies. What does that concept look like?

P.Z. / We are a large network. Austrian as well as international companies, mostly manufacturing, are represented. The advantage: they all don’t need to open their own office in Salzburg or Austria, they can simply rent a desk here or come here with their laptop, present their latest products in a fitting fashion, make customer appointments, profit from the large network, and leave. Those are the advantages that our members get out of their partnership with us.

Aside from that they can use our seminar rooms and take culinary breaks with snacks from the bar or at our two-star restaurant with top-chef Andreas Senn. This way HDW basically covers everything – and because of the relaxed atmosphere business is often done in the evenings, with a glass of wine, too. All over the world there are private clubs where you can meet for business purposes. That’s where we come in and we’re extremely committed to our concept – which is new in Austria.

What we want to do is make life easier for businesspeople and make progress together. Which is why we offer a clear cost structure and the possibility to invite business partners to our premises. But the possibilities are endless, from private birthdays to international product presentations to parties with top DJs – the premises of HDW make it all possible.

©HDW
©HDW

L.L. / How do you chose your partners?

P.Z. / We don’t actively contact anyone, it all happens via word of mouth or social media – which is ideal because both ways are emotional. And that’s what HDW is all about. It’s that kind of added value that we can create for everyone and that we are committed to.

On top of our 70 partners we have people from different industries. We still make sure that the whole group works well together though, each partner needs to be on board and understand the concept.

Peter Zechner ©HDW
Peter Zechner ©HDW

L.L. / The name HDW Hotel & Design Werkstatt is going to change in the future. Can you tell us more about this?

P.Z. / To be honest, I found the name a bit boring and it didn’t really capture the concept. The new name communicates our lifestyle better: Lounge 5. Lounge stands for business and relaxation at the same time – you immediately have different connotations. There has always been a strong focus on the hotel and restaurant industry, and by repositioning our brand we want to address a broader target group. Our network can simply do so much more.

L.L. / One of the projects you developed is INOVUM, a complex of buildings which, with its current concept, will become a huge meeting place in Salzburg. What’s the idea behind it?

P.Z. / With the INOVUM brand we laid the foundation for one of the largest private construction projects in Salzburg. The concept is similar to that of HDW – everything is supposed to interlock. We developed a building that unites gastronomy, office space, a design hotel, and showrooms. A glass ring spanning three floors on top of a black rock base is something entirely new in Salzburg. Visions require courage. And in order to realise those it’s sometimes necessary to get off the beaten track.

©HDW
©HDW

L.L. / INOVUM hotel will have 120 rooms and an atrium. What do you think a hotel needs to offer to meet the demands of an increasingly discerning clientele?

P.Z. / It definitely needs to be easily accessible, and in our case the hotel is located right next to the airport. And simplicity and efficiency play an important role, too. A self-check-in is required but there should also be staff available in case there are questions. And, of course, the bottle of water in the room is complimentary and the design cannot conflict with the comfortable atmosphere. Technology plays an important role – even though it usually works in the background and it’s easy to use for anyone.

L.L. / You are the creative minds behind numerous innovative concepts. Where do you find inspiration and ideas?

P.Z. / The three of us often get together and just talk about whatever comes to mind. And we have big visions and the possibility to put them into practise – sometimes more sometimes less. What’s extremely important here is to admit one’s mistakes and learn from them.

L.L. / At HDW you show high-class creativity. Would you say that Salzburg is more design conscious and demanding that other places?

P.Z. / Yes, I do think so. And that is due to the perfect location on the one hand – Salzburg is really well connected, to Vienna or to Munich. And on the other, there is the Salzburg Festival and the city in general which has a very international and demanding clientele. Who likes to go to our two-star restaurant. Quality is appreciated in Salzburg. Plus, the financial strength is different than in other provinces.

©HDW
©HDW

Peter Zechner

Peter Zechner is manager of HDW Hotel & Design Werkstatt at Gusswerk Salzburg which will bear the name Lounge 5 in the future. The company offers its members a large network in a unique location. All the latest innovations in interior design and lifestyle are exhibited in a huge showroom which is open for visitors, too. Together with his two business partners, Peter Zechner is also in charge of developing the construction project INOVUM next to Salzburg’s Europapark.

Peter Zechner's Wordrap

This would be a project I’d love to realise:

an unconventional property.

My style in three words:

innovative, determined, team-oriented.

My favourite design piece:

It’s not about material value, it’s about being stylish and special.

Timber or concrete?

Generally more timber, project-specific it can also be concrete.

Innovation means…

progress.

At a hotel I look at:

comfort.