Sabine Jaeger, founder of the design district in Vienna

We’ve talked with Sabine Jäger, the co-founder of Design District 1010

24. September 2019

Dear Viennese and everyone who’s about to visit the city of culture – from 4th to the 6th of October Vienna’s first district shows its design facets during Austria’s leading design fair „Design District 1010“.

We took the opportunity to talk to Sabine Jäger, the co-founder of the event, together with Peter Syrch.  Long story short – read for yourself and get expert knowledge of design.

What is the Design District 1010 event all about?

The Design District is a three-day event, located in the heart of Vienna, in the first district. The centre of it is the Hofburg, and it’s more than a typical fair. The event brings together more than 200 selected premium brands and presents the latest trends in design, interior, technology, architecture, furniture, HIFI and accessories.  The setting is genuinely glamorous in a historical ambience. Within a remarkably short time, we’ve managed to become the leading design fair in Austria. Constant progress and future orientation combined with tradition awareness are significant to us. That is the reason why we always try to be as innovative as possible.

Was it a conscious decision to choose the first district of Vienna as the venue?

First of all, it is because the centre of the event is at the internationally-known Vienna Hofburg, which is in the first district. Another reason for organising the fair in this district is because the region has developed into a design area these last years. Just have a look at the Ringstraße and all the design stores popping up there. You can see renowned brands such as Leo Schulmeister, TEAM 7, behan+thurm, Steininger Designers and Vitra – to name a few. The Gonzagagasse is also a design jewel.

In my opinion, the first district of Vienna is closer to design than Milan – Milan produces it, but in Vienna, the design is available and present all year round. With the Design District 1010, we want to increase public awareness of the fact that the first district stands for excellent design and tradition as well. Probably, this is also an indicator that Vienna is the most livable city in the world and has been elected as Smart City this year.

What is new at this year’s Design District 1010?

The B2B area with discussions on architecture, design and retail to merge these areas are new, and the exhibition at Looshaus too. The so-called „Design Dialogue“ is an experts‘ forum for trends and developments regarding design and architecture. It brings together renowned speakers such as Matthias Horx and Paulo Flore and decision-makers in the fields of politics, real estate, architecture & interior design.

Sabine Jager and Peter Synch in the Hofburg in Vienna
Sabine Jäger and Peter Syrch

That sounds interesting. What exactly is going to happen at Looshaus?

Because of our Online Shop „Austrian Limited“, we have a strong connection to Austrian manufactures. During Design District 1010, we show Austrian design and handcraft at Looshaus. 25 top-class designers will convince the audience with their work. Our role model is the renowned Salon del Mobile in Milan. In the course of the Milanese fair, not only design is shown but also studios, offices and architectural highlights are open to visitors. We are aware that it takes time to adapt, but we like this approach very much.

Do you think Austrians are as open-minded as Italians when it comes to opening their spaces?

Yes, I think so. In my opinion, the Viennese would also show their architecture and design pieces to the public by opening their homes, studios and offices simply because of vanity and prestige. In Vienna, there are so many offices and surgeries around the Freyung, for example, which are very well-equipped. Especially in the gastronomy area, owners focus more and more on high-quality interior design, and this is why the object business is booming. It is also the reason why we are implementing the B2B area to bring together the relevant players such as the real estate branch, politicians, builders and design companies.

Notorious Mag, Selma Schönburg, and Sabine Jäger exploring a Kitchen at a design store on schubertring in vienna

Does that mean that you focus on a well-curated event?

Of course, no brand or company can take part if they don’t offer a concept which fits our philosophy. And sometimes, I also get back to them with change requests; for example, I don’t like to feel boxed in when walls are planned to high.

Since sustainability is on everyone’s lips at the moment, in your opinion, what makes a design piece sustainable and timeless?

We create our future, that’s clear. If we don’t think about sustainability and solving future and existing problems, there will be more negative impacts on the environment. From our point of view, there are always two sides. For instance, you have the designer, the architect, and you have the customer. Both sides have to choose the right way. We support sustainable design in every way and are increasingly aware of the importance of environmental responsibility in our society.

If you had the chance to meet for a coffee one of the most celebrated designers of the Viennese Modern, who would it be – Adolf Loos, Otto Wagner or Josef Hoffmann?  

I would love to meet all of these great designers; each of them represents a part of Austrian history. But if I had to make a choice, I would invite Adolf Loos to our event at Looshaus. I guess he would be very proud to see how famous this house has become if you look at its history.

Which design piece is a must in a Viennese flat?

A kitchen should never be missing in a flat. You spend a lot of time there. In fact, it is the heart of your home and reflects your style. Designing my kitchen made me very happy and still makes me grateful every day.

What are you looking forward to the most this year?

The Design District 2019 and Christmas (laughing)

We see each other at Hofburg!

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