A talk with Martina Toifl and Pia Clodi
When a hotel and a design lady, both with a penchant for art and photography, decide to work together, the result can only be one thing: very special. The new boutique hotel The Mozart in Salzburg’s Andräviertel quarter combines elements from the classical era and the 21st century in a charming and stylish fashion, thus creating a space of comfort and inspiration. In their interview with La Loupe, hotel director Martina Toifl and designer Pia Clodi divulge details about their latest project, their approach to Mozart, and the dramatic composition of 32 rooms.
L.L./ Ms. Toifl, how did the hotel The Mozart come to be?
M.T./ The old building with its style that is so characteristic for Franz-Josef-Strasse, where it is located, dates back to the turn of the century and it was run as Hotel Mozart since the 1950s. It was family-owned until – luck for us – the family of owners decided to sell the house. We took over running operations in early 2018 and immediately realised just how much potential the house has; now, after a four-month renovation period, the house shines in new lustre. There are a lot of new things we put in there – from French wooden floors to stucco ceilings – but of course quite a few antique pieces also found a new place in the house.
“We see ourselves as an individual piece of Salzburg.”
L.L./ What sort of interaction is there between the city of Salzburg, the guest, and the design? What‘s to expect?
P.C./ Martina and I first worked as a design-duo on the project “Townhouse Nora” by the Heyn Collections that Martina founded.
M.T./ My passion for design and interior is complemented perfectly by Pia. Three years ago we conceived and realised the furnishing, features, and walls as a comprehensive concept at the Townhouse: I wanted to bring the city into the Townhouse and Pia designed the “Salzburg Edition” for it; the pictures on the walls tell the city’s story which can be discovered outside. That concept is extremely popular. The guests can also find the photographs on our city-guide and postcards and so, when they go home, they take a piece of art from Salzburg with them.
“Art always is a window into a different world – the world of a person who sees things differently than you do.”
L.L./ What’s the design philosophy behind The Mozart? Retro, contemporary, modern?
P.C./ We describe our style as personal, inspired by British design, and with a strong character – the house and its history itself pointed us in the right direction. At The Mozart the items that contribute most to its individual style are antique pieces of furniture, finest fabrics, and harmonious colour schemes. That’s how our motto “A modern classic” was conceived, too.
M.T./ The Lower Bar, the heart of our breakfast buffet, for instance, is an old apothecary’s cabinet. The space is supposed to make you feel comfortable while still being a little more special than your own home. And, of course, you can also enjoy all the comforts of the 21st century: AC, smart TV, and amazing box-spring beds.
“You simply need to have been to every single room to have seen it all.”
L.L./ What does the term boutique hotel mean to you? What does a hotel need to deserve the name boutique hotel?
M.T./ We see ourselves as an individual piece of Salzburg and we want to focus on the essentials of our job as hosts: a warm welcome, and personal interaction with our guests. At the same time the house’s interior design speaks of a passion for details, for art, and for Mozart.
P.C./ To us boutique means full of character. Which is why we worked on the topic of Mozart together with several artists – from drawings to a music-inspired mirror. We think that art inspires a different perspective of things. So photography was a must. The 32 rooms all feature photographs that, taken together, make up a complete work of art that tells its own story. A story we also tell in our book “Mozart – kissed by the Muse”. Whenever a guest returns they probably get to discover yet another element of the story.
M.T./ You simply need to have been in all the rooms to have seen it all (laughs).
“We want the guest to feel comfortable while at the same time giving them something that is a little more special than their own home.”
L.L./ A city hotel means a lot of hustle and bustle. How do you preserve your personal style?
M.T./ The rooms have a classical design, and because of the connection with art nouveau elements or the Thonet chairs, there immediately is an Austrian flair to it. The original, the regional was important to us – also when it comes to food. Our breakfast is made up of mostly regional products, and we offer fresh smoothies and mueslis every day.
“When guests return they get to discover a different part of the story.”
L.L./ What role does Mozart as a person play?
P.C./ Mozart himself said it once: music is not made up of notes, but the silence in between. That’s a really strong image and it was the starting point for the art project “Mozart – kissed by the muse”. This photographic concept for 32 rooms, bar, and bistro is all about the process of artistic creation. Which, in this case, is very playful. And since the personal figure of the muse has been on my mind for several years, it plays a decisive role. The dialogue of the artist and his muse symbolises a kind of dialectic that can be found all over Mozart’s compositions.
“The artistic process is playful.”
L.L./ What do you want the guest to “take away"?
M.T./ With The Mozart we want to offer guests a place where they can feel comfortable and at home but also inspired – and that does not just go for hotel guests from all over the world but also for people from Salzburg who are very welcome in our bar and bistro.
P.C./ A space for lively exchange and encounters – with a good glass of wine (laughs).
WORDRAP MIT MARTINA TOIFL & PIA CLODI
Favourite piece of furniture in the house/ hotel?
The Lower Bar – the apothecary’s cabinet.
Surfaces creates comfort?
A surface needs to be real. No-one feels at home surrounded by fakes.
We’d recommend booking room #… in advance.
The suite. And room 103.
Salzburg, Mozart and ...
... a voyage of discovery.
The first thing I do when I get home...
... I open the windows.
As a photographer Pia Clodi traveled the world with her own label Peaches & Mint – until 2017 when Martina Toifl hired her as designer and creative director for Heym Collections. Her passion for analogue photography is visible in all of her work – like a red thread. Her claim in the The Mozart-remake was to combine design and art in timeless elegance.
Martina Toifl is the founder of Heym Collections, a Salzburg-based hospitality brand. After the remake and rebranding, the hotel “The Mozart – a modern classic”, which is now led as a boutique hotel, welcomes guests from all over the world.