Prepare to Merge
At a German restaurant by Jordan Mozer, the American diner meets the Volkswagen Beetle
Cindy Coleman -- Interior Design, 5/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
The Volkswagen Beetle, old and new, is everyman in automobile form, with a rounded shape we can't help but love. And now it's the inspiration for a restaurant at Volkswagen's headquarters and Autostadt theme park in Wolfsburg, Germany. If the idea of a restaurant—much less a theme park—at a corporate headquarters sounds odd, consider the fact that in Germany it's more common than not for a person to pick up a new car right at the factory, turning the transaction into a vacation. Thus, Autostadt houses a variety of car pavilions, a museum, exhibition space, and a high-end hotel, plus Cylinder, designed by Chicago restaurant provocateur Jordan Mozer and run by the Swiss chain Mövenpick.
For the 4,000-square-foot restaurant, parked at the base of the ZeitHaus auto museum, Jordan Mozer & Associates drew first on a fusion of ideas derived from the original and new Beetles. "The soul of the 'bug' is from the '60s, and '60s modernism is all about the future," says Mozer. "But now that we've entered the 21st century, the notion of modernism must reflect the past, too." Added to this balancing act is the concept of the roadside diner, an American icon that still feels appropriate an hour outside Berlin. "Diners have always been an abstraction of the automobile," says Mozer. Nevertheless, Cylinder's individual cast-aluminum tables and its luggage-brown leather seating, reminiscent of luxurious bucket seats, have replaced the typical diner's lunch counter and swivel stools. Mozer has created not a kitsch diner pastiche but rather a visual meditation on how people connect to their cars. Walls and ceilings are exquisitely executed in curved plaster with custom lighting and fabric panel inserts, demonstrating once more that custom furnishings and sophisticated finishes come as standard equipment on all Mozer projects.