July 21, 2021

BWM Architekten Updates Visitor Center at the Historic Vienna State Opera

visitors enjoy coffee and tea in the Vienna State Opera Visitor Center
BWM Achitekten designed a new visitor center for the Vienna State Opera building, whose original structure dates back to the late 1800s. Photography by BWM Achitekten/Severin Wurnig.

The historic Vienna State Opera has been operating since the late 19th century. The building, which houses the Vienna State Ballet and hosts the annual Vienna Opera Ball, was built in 1869 and partially rebuilt in the 1950s after it sustained damage from American bombardment during World War II. Still, its visitor center was due for a modern refresh. Local firm BWM Architekten, (number 10 in the 2023 Interior Design International Giants ranking) won a contest to design the new space with their forward-looking plan for an open, multi-functional interior. During the day, the visitor center is used for ticket sales, service, and information. At night, it’s transformed into a social meeting space. “Working in a building of such cultural significance is not only an absolute joy, but also a great honor,” says architect Johann Moser. The design breathes new life into a historic space.

people walk through the Visitor Center at the Vienna State Opera House
The space is anchored by a central 65-foot-long table used for ticket sales during the day and as a communal bar counter at night. Photography by BWM Achitekten/Severin Wurnig.
a multi-use table for ticket sales and a bar countertop in the Vienna State Opera house
The table features a dark-green marble surface surrounded by a brass skirting and stained oak below. Photography by BWM Achitekten/Severin Wurnig.
historical books on the opera sit on a table in the Vienna State Opera Visitor Center
The lighting concept, developed in collaboration with lighting designer Christian Ploderer, allows for neutral light during the day and warm, dimmed light in the evening. Photography by BWM Achitekten/Severin Wurnig.
a custom chandelier made of brass rods in the Vienna State Opera building
A custom chandelier is made of brass with 270 rods of frosted glass illuminated by LEDs. Photography by BWM Achitekten/Severin Wurnig.
a semi-circle bar in the Vienna State Opera Visitor Center
A semi-circular bar serves coffee or sparkling wine depending on the time of day, and green velvet sofas offer a seating area in front of every window. Photography by BWM Achitekten/Severin Wurnig.

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