Nora Witzigmann

Restaurant Pageou: The Story

Interior designer Nora Witzigmann has made a name for herself designing numerous popular restaurants and bars in cities such as Munich and Berlin. She likes to work with furniture from Thonet and also used a Thonet piece in her latest project: Pageou in Munich is a prime example of a great restaurant interior designed in close collaboration with the client. In our interview, Nora Witzigmann talks about working with top chef Ali Güngörmüş and their shared love of the S 64 V tubular steel cantilever chair by Marcel Breuer.

Your design for the new Pageou restaurant is timeless and classically elegant. How does such an interior fit with a chef like Ali Güngörmüş and his fine Mediterranean cuisine? 

At first glance, Pageou is a bright, open space dominated by black-and-white contrasts and the combination of the classic cantilever chairs with the white tablecloths gives a feeling of timelessness, class and quality. However, the restaurant is actually a place of sensory experience, which mirrors the history and personality of its owner. Well-crafted pieces in wood, leather and beautiful fabrics are combined with clean lines. Ali Güngörmüş is a purist, including in his kitchen, which is characterized by simplicity and high-quality ingredients. Pageou, though, which is named after the East Anatolian village where Güngörmüş was born, is also meant to reflect his roots. Therefore, my design concept also features playful accents from the Art Deco movement, which was strongly influenced by Ottoman ornaments. Art Deco often took its inspiration from the Ottoman period and used patterns that had a hint of the East. The playfulness in the restaurant’s design, which can be seen in the bespoke lamps with tassels above the bar or the fabric lampshades on the windowsills, is picked out in many small details. We have avoided a cluttered look, instead creating an atmospheric contrast against the white walls of the hall-like room, with its ceiling height of almost 4.5 metres.

Restaurant Pageou, Ali Güngörmüş

For the furniture in the dining area you used 34 of Thonet’s iconic S 64 V tubular steel cantilever chairs in the stained black beech version with natural canework. What was the reason you chose this armrest chair designed by Marcel Breuer (artistic copyright: Mart Stam) at the end of the 1920s?

This classic chair’s simplicity and reduced aesthetics alongside their airy canework made the S 64 V a perfect fit for the dining area. The stained black beech version fits in perfectly with the black and white theme that is the foundation for the entire design: the stained black oak parquet floor and the white walls. The visual impression made by classic Thonet chairs and white tablecloths is also one that is reassuringly familiar to restaurant guests, one that they immediately associate with coffee house culture and fine dining. The iconic cantilever chair turned out to be the perfect chair for this restaurant: you can sit on it for hours at a time because it is so comfortable, it looks perfect in this setting and it fits with the Art Deco theme, since the chair comes from precisely this time period. The entire architecture of the chair is a perfect fit for the room. Check and mate, you might say (she laughs).  

Restaurant Pageou, Ali Güngörmüş
Restaurant Pageou, Ali Güngörmüş
Restaurant Pageou, Ali Güngörmüş

Were longevity and timelessness also factors in your decision to choose this classic chair?  

For one thing, the quality of the interior design says something about the quality of the cuisine. Pageou is currently Ali Güngörmüş’ only restaurant. It’s his passion and he wants to run it as long as he is still cooking. So, we decided that the restaurant design needed to be one that would outlast fashions, not just a restaurant trend that will be out of style again in a few years. Ali came to appreciate these armrest chairs during his years as owner of Le Carard Nouveau in Hamburg. The architect Meinhard von Gerkan had ordered them for the restaurant’s dining room Ali loves these cantilever chairs with canework and reinforcing synthetic mesh because they are high quality – they can cope with continuous restaurant use – they are timeless, comfortable and will be around for at least as long as he is. So I really didn’t need to do too much convincing.

You are responsible for the interior design for numerous other popular restaurants, for example Panama in Berlin and the MIZU SUSHI BAR in the Bachmair Weissach Spa & Resort. What do all these beautifully designed settings for fine dining have in common? 

The thing they have in common is that there is nothing in common (she laughs). On the contrary: my goal in every single project is to create an interior design that fits the client like a tailor-made suit. This design can’t be repeated. That’s why no two projects are alike and why a Nora-Witzigmann style simply doesn’t exist.  

Restaurant Pageou



Restaurant Pageou

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