Short note / Reitschule cafe, its interior design and refurbishment

Reitschule cafe: a project sent to us by the Thonet Press.

Seen from outside, the listed classical complex of the Reitschule cafe and the adjacent University Riding School remains unchanged in spite of the thorough refurbishment. However, the cafe’s interior has undergone a total redesign: floors, walls, room layout and a new staircase have been designed by the architects at Palais Mai, turning the cafe into a ‘modern classic‘.

"We have created a large space, divided into various zones, each with their own atmosphere. As a unifying element we chose a Terrazzo floor that flows seamlessly through all the spaces, even extending to its use as the bar counter top," said architect Ina-Maria Schmidbauer of Palais Mai.

The colour schemes of the new spaces encompass grey, brown and green tones; dark wood, high-quality leather and other refined, natural materials set off the interior. In the redesign, the architects were particularly concerned to keep the special atmosphere, but at the same time to create something new. A large target audience should be able to kick back here, between the hectic pace of the city and the green oasis of the Englischer Garten. Or, as Ina-Maria Schmidbauer puts it: "…even spend the whole day there if they feel like it."

With its view into the Riding Hall and onto the paddock outside, and from the terrace onto the Englischer Garten, the Reitschule invites visitors to linger from the first light of morning until late at night, enjoying nature and the creations of top chef Jan Hankel. The fresh, contemporary and yet still classic atmosphere is reinforced by the new interior design of the Reitschule.
From the very start, it was clear that the furniture should be provided by the tradition-rich firm of Thonet. The chairs by designer Stefan Diez fit in well with the overall architectonic concept; their combination of old and new, of classical and contemporary shapes is ideal for the new spaces.

The overall visual impression of the interior is further strengthened by the blown-glass lighting features and china lithophanes by lighting designer Markus Widmann and by the award-winning seating of Thonet’s 404 collection and Muji’s ‘No. 14 chair’ – a modern interpretation of a design classic, manufactured by Thonet and designed by James Irvine. With its saddle-like seat and swinging action, the Thonet 404 barstool by Stefan Diez has equestrian influences, and by shortening its legs Diez converted the Thonet model 404 F into an elegant lounge variation for the fireplace section of the Reitschule.

Uli Springer and Stefan Diez had already met each other before the redesign of the Reitschule: “It was really exciting to work with a Munich designer on a Munich institution” said Springer. Through this project, he also struck up a collaboration with the porcelain manufacturer, Nymphenburg. The long-established company produced a fine-porcelain chandelier and a 180cm tall drinking fountain made out of Nymphenburg terracotta at which the guests can slake their thirst. Both items feature the same colour scheme and are entirely hand made.