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Cellar stories

Gmoakeller extension, Vienna

Direct commission

Gmoakeller extension, Vienna

This is the story of the Gmoakeller. Or, to be more exact, it is the story of the cellar of this traditional Viennese restaurant. We explored it, and continued it in an architectural way.

Are you coming from a concert or from Heumarkt?


The story goes like this: The Gmoakeller used to be the realm of two sisters, Aunt Grete and Aunt Mitzi. Mitzi made the best pan-fried liver in town, while Grete ruled over the bar and threw out any patrons she didn’t like. ‘Are you coming from a concert or from Heumarkt?’, she would enquire of everyone who walked in. If they came from Heumarkt (the popular centre of Austrian wrestling in the 1960s and 70s), she would show them the door. Heumarkt, that was where the riffraff came from.

Gmoakeller extension, Vienna

Because of the riffraff

And Aunt Grete did not want to let the ‘riffraff’ into the Gmoakeller. Most of all, she did not want to let it into the legendary cellar of the establishment. A bowling alley lay at rest there. A few decades ago, it was to be turned into a discotheque. A nephew of Aunt Mitzi had it all planned and prepared. But on the night the disco was to supposed to open Aunt Grete suddenly said no. The cellar remained closed. ‘Because of the riffraff.’

We like places which – like good wines – do not ‘taste’ shallow but are still interesting when you sample them for the third time.


The aunts have long since died. The restaurant is now owned by our client Sebastian Laskowsky. It still serves excellent liver and much more besides, and we had the chance to subtly renovate not only the kitchen, bar and vestibule but also, and most importantly: the cellar.

Gmoakeller extension, Vienna

A new look

We transformed the forbidden place. We banished all romantic kitsch, whitewashed the vaults, and hid the ventilation ducts from sight. The floor and the wooden walls, the so-called ‘dado’, were stained dark.

Good restaurant design focuses on the table, whether it is compact like in an Italian trattoria or opulent like at an American banquet.


Excellent Viennese cuisine can be enjoyed here on Formica tables laid with white tablecloths and napkins, and the room can easily be adapted for functions. Curtains (we chose a design by Kenzo!) allow the landlord to divide the room into niches, whether it is for big groups that have not pre-booked or for the romantic dinner of a new couple. Though Aunt Grete would probably have told them: ‘Get a room!’

Gmoakeller extension, Vienna
Gmoakeller extension, Vienna
Gmoakeller extension, Vienna
1st basement floor


Type of commission


Scope of commission

Gesamte Planung und ÖBA


AIT Award 2012


Sebastian Laskowsky










Net usable floor area

250 m²

Building costs

305.000 €


Yvonne Biering, Michael Eder


Structural engineer

DI Margarete Salzer

Lighting design

Christian Ploderer


Hertha Hurnaus