written by:
photos by:
May 25, 2014
Originally published in Modern for All
Austria Hungry
Two Viennese expats open a New York City shop stocked with furniture, lighting, and accessories from their home country and beyond.
stillfried Wien storefront
Anna and Michael Trubrig’s Manhattan gallery, Stillfried Wien, opened in 2013.
Photo by 
1 / 5
wood light steel legs with hole
Among its offerings is Graz-based studio 13&9’s Wood Light (above), which is supported by steel legs and illuminated by an LED bulb.
Photo by 
2 / 5
carl aubock desk accessories
The shop also sells reissued Austrian classics. Examples include Adolf Loos’s 1931 design for Drinking Set No. 248 for J. & L. Lobmeyr and Werkstätte Carl Auböck’s desk accessories originally produced in the 1950s. Check out this Austrian Winery.
Photo by 
3 / 5
Thomas Feichtner black wooden chair
Michael Thonet's’s bentwood cafe chair from 1859 is one of the most recognizable Austrian furniture pieces. Thomas Feichtner, a designer based in Vienna, reinterpreted the piece in 2013 for the Czech company Ton, honoring the original production processes while introducing a molded-wood seat as a way to bridge contemporary and traditional furniture design.
Photo by 
4 / 5
stillfried Wien tribeca shop
Team 7’s leather Aye Armchair is placed adjacent to it's Flaye dining table (left). Michael, Anna, and a client sit at a table by Galerie Holzer. The yellow and gray chairs are by Hussl.
Photo by 
5 / 5
stillfried Wien storefront
Anna and Michael Trubrig’s Manhattan gallery, Stillfried Wien, opened in 2013.

Stillfried Wien, a trove of design from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, lies one block south of New York City’s bustling Canal Street. The store and gallery, which opened in fall of 2013, is a welcome addition to a city saturated with pieces from Italy and Scandinavia. Proprietors Anna and Michael Trubrig moved to Manhattan from Vienna last July, she leaving a career in marketing and fine art importing, he a job in hedge fund management. The couple has since corralled a short list of historic manufacturers who are reinvigorating their inventories by enlisting new talent. We asked them how the new, vintage, and customizable wares they sell embody today’s Austrian design.

How would you characterize furniture coming out of Austria and Germany?

Michael: It has a tendency to be a bit more “lean.” The pieces begin with manufacturing techniques, seeing what’s actually possible, then going toward the design. The designers and manufacturers we work with are interested in the whole process.

Anna: The focus is on functionality and sustainability. It’s a very Austrian thing to work with natural materials like wood, stone, glass, and silver.

Why is there a scarcity of shops in the United States focused on design from Austria and German-speaking Europe?

Michael: During the National Socialism Movement, many of the intellectual and creative elite, like Walter Gropius, Josef and Anni Albers, and Marcel Breuer, were forced to emigrate. Some, like Ferdinand Kramer, returned to lead a brief creative push in the 1950s. Overall, though, the following period was rather affirmative and not innovative in its design.  While there were talented practitioners, there was a certain void in the second half of the 20th century. In the past decade, a renaissance in contemporary design has appeared. It’s driven by a coordinated effort from designers, manufacturers, politicians, and educational institutions.

How do the manufacturers reflect the present day while still holding true to their heritage?

Anna: People our age have taken over the family-owned businesses and manufacturers, like J. & L. Lobmeyr [a glass company] and Mühlbauer [a hat maker]. Augarten, a nearly 300-year-old porcelain manufacturer, had a tradition of introducing young designers. Back in the 1920s, young designers at the forefront of Germany and Europe made all of the china.

Michael: It’s a business decision. You have to stick with your roots, but you have to change with the times. People are not interested in buying the same things.

What pieces represent this new take ?

Michael: Austrians like to use traditional materials but incorporate something new and experiment with the process. The Tram armchair by [Austrian designer Thomas Feichtner for Czech manufacturer] Ton is one of my favorites (right). Its shape—a combination of bent and molded wood—is reminiscent of seats on the tram in Prague.

How do you select pieces—both vintage and new—for the store?

Michael: We’re drawn to pieces that strike us as special and beautiful. A home has a very different character if you have vintage pieces instead of all-new furniture.

Anna: Aesthetics are one point, but we really like to have as much solid wood as possible in our furniture.

Why is solid wood important?

Michael: It’s durable. Take the Flaye table by Team 7—if you spill something on it, you can sand it down [to remove stains]. This is a table you can have for 50 years.

How does the shop’s look complement what you sell?

Anna: We worked with Nikolas Heep and Mia Kim on the ceiling. They are based in Vienna and have collaborated with Augarten and Lobmeyr. It’s CNC-milled MDF painted gold, and it resembles the caning on the Viennese coffee chair. Michael hung it himself. People come in just to take pictures of it.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016