Of spaces and dreams
Marcel Eberharter perfects the art of combining international design and Austrian craftsmanship
Hotel projects in Dubai or high-end developments in Sao Paulo: after his studies at the Interior Design School London Marcel Eberharter gathered experience all around the globe. And this experience brought him back to Salzburg where he founded Marcel Eberharter Design Studio and was soon in charge with working on important locations such as Restaurant Goldader in Tamsweg or the mayor’s office in Mirabell Castle. One project he enjoyed tremendously was Haus am See (= house by the lake, see website) where the client gave Marcel Eberharter and his team free reign and trusted them completely. In his interview with La Loupe the designer gushed about this very special kind of honour.
"Our style is sustainable and timeless and we want it to look good in the future, too.“
L.L./ What aspects are especially important for the work of Marcel Eberharter Design Studio? How would you describe your style?
M.E./ We obviously try to focus on the client, we look at their personal and individual needs without losing focus of a certain standard of design. Our style is sustainable and timeless and we want it to last and look beautiful in the future, too. We want to create spaces where people feel comfortable, where they can let go and find relaxation in a cosy atmosphere. This means the design can’t be too clean or too frilly. And finding that balance is always an exciting task.
“We want to create spaces where people will feel comfortable, where they can let go and relax in a cosy atmosphere.”
L.L./ What were your experiences abroad and how do you use what you learned here ein Salzburg?
M.E./ At United Designers in London I was part of largescale global projects such as hotel projects in Dubai, highend developments in Sao Paulo, and private clients’ projects in London. They gave me a chance to acquire a certain breadth of perspective that is very useful today. I came back to Salzburg five years ago and we increasingly find customers here who consciously look for something extraordinary, who travel a lot and who want an international touch – combined with the highest demands for quality Austrian craftsmanship.
“Finding new materials and products is our bread and butter.”
L.L./ Speaking of Austrian craftsmanship: you design and produce your furniture yourself…?
M.E./ Our team of craftsmen works with a lot of passion for detail and sets very high standards for itself. And that also means that even for projects abroad our team will be right there to take over and finish the entirety of the interior work with all its details.
“The classic floor plan – dining room, living room, kitchen – disappears and it all melts into one big room.”
L.L./ How do you respect your clients’ wishes and stick with your own design language at the same time?
M.E./ At first we get to know our clients during a detailed briefing and we find out who they are and what they expect. Then we need to create a guideline together. It always is a balancing act, each client is different and they all want to be involved differently – and time plays an important role, too. During our latest project, the Haus am See, the customer put so much trust in us during the first meeting that he said: you take over now! He didn’t even show up to the building discussions. And that huge amount of trust was a credit to myself and my team.
"Life has so much in store nowadays and there are clients who will completely refurbish after just a few years.”
L.L./ You design restaurants, too. The times where it was just about the food are long past. What does a successful restaurant need to look like today?
M.E./ The guests alwas have many possibilities to choose from and that makes them more demanding. Which means it is our job to create an experience that will make them want to come back. It’s about a certain level of comfort and cosiness, down-to-earth and sophisticated, that they know from their own four walls and that will make them feel at home. There are three points that are particularly important in a restaurant: The level of comfort while seated at the table, the table culture – what do the table cloth or the napkins feel like? - and, finally, the lighting. Without good lighting the best concept will not work.
“You don’t build for eternity anymore, you build for the now.”
L.L./ Never was beautiful living as important as it is today. How have the clients’ demands towards their own home changed?
M.E./ Clients are becoming more and more flexible and open. The classic floor plan – dining room, living room, kitchen – disappears and it all melts into one big room. You get fewer and fewer requests for these areas to be separate, instead you get more cases where work life is integrated into people’s homes. Outdoor and indoor merges, outdoor areas are becoming more important because as a result of climate change we can spend time out of doors between April and October. Technology is also changing rapidly, as soon as one smart home system has been installed there’s a new one on the market. But you also see a bit of a downgrade there, people increasingly focus on the essentials. And you don’t build for eternity anymore, you build for the now. Life offers so many opportunities nowadays, there are clients who will completely refurbish their home after just a few years.
“I struggle with trends, they often go as quickly as they came.”
L.L./ Inspiration and trends change rapidly. How do you keep on top of it all?
M.E./ I go to five international fairs each year. Finding new materials and new products is our daily bread. And that means I have a pretty good sense for trends. I do prefer expressiveness over innovation, though; I struggle with trends because they often go as quickly as they come. When I find an exciting and innovative product, like cool rugs from recycled plastic bottles that also feel great, that’s a win.
“I recharge my batteries during hiking or mountain biking in the forest or mountains.”
L.L./ We live in a world that is always connected. What is your private place of retreat?
M.E./ Nature. Quiet. We’re constantly surrounded by people and that costs a lot of energy. In order to recharge my batteries I head into the forest or the mountains for hiking or mountain biking. That’s how I keep my balance and it’s something to look forward to.
This project is my personal dream:
The Haus am See.
… never limit me in my daily life.
The last design object I bought:
My city bike.
My own four walls must be ...
cosy and comfortable.
Salzburg means to me:
Culture, arts, and food.
When he founded his own office, the interior designer’s dreams came true: Marcel Eberharter Design Studio in Salzburg combines the skill of architects and interior designers with international know-how and offers inspiring holistic solutions for private spaces, hotels, restaurants, offices, and doctor’s practices – from floor planning to the finished space. Clear, contemporary lines that are perfected with plenty of passion for detail are at the focus. The fact that his parents’ interior design firm Eberharter Raumgestaltung looks back on 30 years’ worth of experience in the industry bring great synergies.