July 3, 2018

Gaggenau’s Pop-Up Restaurant 1683 Gets Otherworldly Touches by Hendrik Müller

A chef preparing the six-course meal for Restaurant 1683’s guests. Photography by Roger Davies, courtesy of Gaggenau.

When Gaggenau, a premier manufacturer of innovative kitchen appliances, tapped German architect Hendrik Müller to set the scene for their Restaurant 1683 concept, they knew they’d be in good hands. The event, hosted on the 11th floor of L.A.’s industrial Cooper Building, was created to celebrate Gaggenau’s three-century history, which began in 1683 in Germany’s Black Forest region. Intimately familiar with the region, Müller was able to forge a highly sensory experience that transported guests to a forest primeval.

“I have many childhood memories of the place, like the sound of the wind playing in the giant pine trees and the mystical atmosphere created by the light pouring through the treetops,” explains Müller. “The creative foundations for the Black Forest setting came out of my own memories, which I then combined with inspiration that I drew from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.”

The cooking stations, complete with cooktop, oven, and workspace were arranged around the perimeter of the forest. Photography by Roger Davies, courtesy of Gaggenau.

Restaurant 1683 channeled those otherworldly qualities that define the Black Forest and Lynch’s auteur style through clever divisions of light and dark spaces, oversized decorative elements, and immersive scenery. Müller had 22-foot trees brought in and blanketed their boughs and the floor beneath them with snow. Bird songs were piped in to add an aural element of reality to the space. Meandering paths between the snowbanks lead guests to one of six tables, where they were treated to the event’s raison d’être: a celebration of culinary culture through exquisite design.

Chef Daniel Humm mingled with guests throughout the evening. Photography by Roger Davies, courtesy of Gaggenau.

Müller worked in partnership with Three-Michelin-Starred Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park to create intimate dining stations where the event’s 48 guests enjoyed their meals, all of which were prepared with Gaggenau’s high-caliber appliances. “Daniel expressed that his vision was to get the chefs and guests as close to each other as possible,” Müller says. “We designed the cooking stations as an even surface that would simultaneously serve as a worktop for cooking and a table for dining.” Stainless steel designated the cooking area, while natural leather defined the dining side. 

Museum-like vitrines display objects depicting Gaggenau’s history. Photography by Roger Davies, courtesy of Gaggenau.

Gaggenau’s rich history was on display outside of the forest as well. When the guests stepped out of the elevator and into the 11th floor’s loft space, they were welcomed by a gigantic cuckoo clock and three attendants dressed in traditional local costume. Cocktails were served at a bar made from a single Black Forest pine tree. Before the main event, the invite-only crowd learned more about Gaggenau by looking inside various museum-like vitrines that contained tools and photographs showcasing Gaggenau’s story. 

Guests were greeted by a giant cuckoo clock when they arrived, letting them know they were in for a distinctly German experience. Photography by Roger Davies, courtesy of Gaggenau.

Each element at Restaurant 1683 weaved together to create a visual narrative that delighted guests, inspired designers, and communicated the Gaggenau story with the same attention to luxurious detail inherent to the brand’s wares. “The whole purpose of the forest setting was to immerse the guests into the Black Forest, but at the same time to sensitize them so they could fully enjoy the eclectic menu Daniel and his staff prepared,” says Müller. “Together as a team, we managed to deliver an absolutely unique experience.”

Recent DesignWire