Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”

Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”

Interview with designer Sebastian Herkner

Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach is a traditional German inn dating back to the 19th century that is now sporting a bright new look. Together with Michelin-starred chef Nicolai Wiedmer and his family, you have created an entirely new space.

How did you end up collaborating on this project?

The Wiedmer family, who run other four hotels and restaurants in southern Baden, contacted me themselves. They’re big fans of the 118 chair that I designed for Thonet. The 118 features modern lines but looks just as good in a traditional dining area or in a coffee house, perfectly integrating old and new. It was this very juxtaposition that the family wanted to achieve with their latest restaurant project in Lörrach, Wirtshaus Mättle. We worked very closely together to come up with a harmonious overall vision for their new establishment, which I was only too happy to realise for them.

Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”
Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”Designer Sebastian Herkner and Michelin-starred chef Nicolai Wiedmer

So what were the ground rules?

We wanted to develop a balanced concept. The inn had a very long history before it was closed for several decades and reopened in the 1990s. It’s changed hands several times since and now the Wiedmer family are breathing new life into the establishment. Chef Nicolas Marceau serves up modern dishes that are influenced by international cuisines but also pay tribute to their roots and showcase local ingredients. This fusion was also an important theme in our design. The menu and the interior design concept have a lot in common. It’s all about having the right ingredients of the highest quality to create honest, yet sophisticated and refined combinations. Craftsmanship and exciting materials are key to our contemporary interior. At the same time, we have been careful not to lose the cosy, welcoming feel of a traditional inn. We wanted to bring the classic inn tradition back to life. We want the guests at Mättle to feel comfortable and at ease, in an atmosphere that is both rustic and contemporary.

So how do the two different versions of the 118 fit into your concept?

Just as the Wirtshaus Mättle is strongly linked to its past, I also consciously drew on Thonet’s traditions when I created the 118 chair. The seat frame is bent from a single piece of wood, and the number of individual parts has been kept to an absolute minimum. I took my inspiration from the 214, the archetypal Thonet chair, and from the modular design principle developed by Michael Thonet in the mid-19th century, creating a chair from as few parts as possible. The 118 is a classic wooden chair that affords a subtle elegance to any dining table in any restaurant. It never looks out of place but blends organically into its setting. Its round edges also complement the delicate and minimalist decorations on the wall that reflect the ingredients used by the chefs in the kitchen. It’s the little details that really help this project come together.

The black chairs with canework seats create a strong contrast in the room, while the version that we have stained an elegant (customised) shade of taupe coordinates perfectly with the overall colour scheme.

Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”The black chairs create a strong contrast in the room
Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”
Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”Most chairs are stained in a special colour

Is the end result at Wirtshaus Mättle exactly as you imagined it?

Yes, I’m very happy with it. We have managed to reinvent this inn using honest colours, shapes and materials but also by ensuring a high-quality finish, attention to detail and a strong local connection. All of the products used are from companies that focus first and foremost on quality. As the starting point for our design, the Thonet 118 was the ideal choice, and it sets off the overall look at Wirtshaus Mättle perfectly.

Wirtshaus Mättle in Lörrach: “The making of”
Wirtshaus Mättle

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