The restaurant is located directly inside the Kunsthalle (Art and Exhibition Hall) at Karlsplatz in Vienna, one of only two of its kind. The other can be found in the MuseumsQuartier district in central Vienna. Since the 90s, both Kunsthallen have shown young, contemporary art, always striving to not only present the art works, but to expand the works’ influence throughout the entire experience. With a co-operating restaurant like Heuer to interpret the themes of the exhibitions, food and art complement each other and create a sumptuous whole larger than their parts.
Karlsplatz has a rather infamous reputation in the city. Many people often pass through, but few remain to enjoy the area. As a major traffic hub, approximately 65,000 cars pass through daily. But with landmarks such as the St. Charles Church (Karlskirche) and surrounding parks, its potential as much more than a traffic hub has yet to be realised. The creative minds behind Heuer have also seen this possibility. In addition to the Kunsthalle, the large open terrace and little park directly in front of it serve as public open space for visitors, diners and passersby. Everyone is invited to relax and enjoy the setting, be they paying customers or not.
Another part of the “complex” contains the largest urban farming project within a European city. With support from the Verein Karlsgarten, an association advocating urban farming, the farm cultivates raised vegetable beds and fruit trees. Of particular note, they are working to restore populations of ancient Austrian strains of vegetables which have become almost nonexistent. Students from the Vienna University of Technology (TU) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) regularly collect data from the farm and carry on scientific research. In a further display of co-operative action, gardener and carpenter apprentices find opportunities to receive hands-on experience in exchange for helping maintain the farm. From tomatoes to bees and even Burgundy snail populations, the creative potentials at the farm are boundless.
Heuer means “this year” in Austrian German, and could be seen as the project’s motto: perpetually in motion, tapped into the spirit of the time and actively creating the future. Heuer embodies its commitment to sustainability by using only seasonal produce and treating nature with respect, making it a place of value in a part of the city where many have been waiting for change. Let’s follow Heuer’s vision of what Vienna could be – let’s build our city’s future together.
Header image: Peter Bender