The Creative Fluff inbox is always full of surprises. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Mostly good. Today’s prize in a box came in the form of an email from German Architecture firm Buero Wagner. They alerted us to GAMESEI, a project they’re working on in Munich. GAMSEI is a minimalist bar where you can find ingredients for cocktails like Lavender Drunk Bee, Mid-Life Crisis and Frühlingserwachen, are either wildly foraged by Bax and his team or grown by local artesian farmers, thus reestablishing a connection with local products, region and culture and offering something that is unique in its kind.
Owner and head bartender Matthew Bax opened Gamsei 2013 in Munich’s trendy neighbourhood Glockenbach and introduced hyper-localism to a field of practice which had till then been mainly confined to the food scene. At Gamsei, ingredients for cocktails like Lavender Drunk Bee, Mid-Life Crisis and Frühlingserwachen, are either wildly foraged by Bax and his team or grown by local artesian farmers, thus reestablishing a connection with local products, region and culture and offering something that is unique in its kind. Bax, an Australian artist and founder of three bars among which award winning bar Der Raum in Melbourne envisioned his fourth as an antidote to the globalization of cocktail bars; why drink the very same cocktail in every bar you go to in the world? Why not experience the excitement of the new when sipping a cocktail?
Check out our exclusive interview with Buero Wagner:
Can you give us a brief background history of Buero Wagner?
I founded Buero Wagner in Munich 2012. Before I was working abroad in Rotterdam and Hong Kong for several years. Buero Wagner is still a very small practice – I employ 2-3 freelancer depending on the workload I have. Currently we are designing the regeneration of a listed industrial building near Lake Ammersee, where construction has just started and a restaurant interior in Shenzhen.
How do you approach your projects?
We always do a lot of research before we start a project – and we always involve the client and experts as much as possible in the whole process. With this kind of integrated method we think to be able to serve the client’s needs best while keeping a high design standard.
Are there any themes that are consistent between your projects?
In Buero Wagner we approach the whole design process from the first analysis to construction – material and detail are same important to us as concept. We like our designs to be simple and functional. At the same time we are trying to show the beauty of nature’s imperfection through the use of material.
Were you the primary architecture firm on GAMSEI? Were you working with other groups?
We were the primary firm – but for Gamsei we collaborated with Andreas Kreft – a Munich based Architect, who was working in New York and Berlin before he established his own office Studio Kreft. Another collaborator was a structural engineering firm which had to check on the beams at the ceiling as the steel mesh got quite heavy. The joints at the walls were also a problem as we found out that the walls were extremely thin – one day we broke one wall and stand in the neighbor’s sleeping room. But all worked out well we fixed the wall and the neighbor got free drinks at the bar. For the Uniforms and the pottery we worked with local manufactures.
Where did you draw inspiration for GAMSEI’s?
At Gamsei, ingredients for cocktails, are either wildly foraged by the staff or grown by local artesian farmers, thus reestablishing a connection with local products, region and culture – the client envisioned Gamsei as an antidote to the globalization of cocktail bars.
At Buero Wagner we wanted the bar interior, to be a continuation of this philosophy – We took inspiration from the ambience of Bavarian beer culture and craftsmanship. That’s why we used extensively wood and lattice .To make the concept of the client more visible we displayed all ingredients like dried flowers, herbs, self-made liqueurs and essences in a wooden built-in cupboard, or in white ceramic bottles, hanging from the ceiling.
When designing GAMSEI, were you taking sustainability into account? Where did you source your building materials?
I think the most obvious way to take sustainability into account is to use the resources you have available in your area. For example we decided to only use locally grown woods – it was easy for us to source local oak with our carpenter – we tried to keep the carbon footprint low. This was also one of the reasons to exclusively work with local manufacturers. All material and products we used at Gamsei were sourced locally.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to study architecture?
Get work experience as soon as possible – work in various offices – learn as much as possible – then found your own studio
More About GAMSEI
The bar interior, designed and executed by Fabian A. Wagner of Buero Wagner (Munich, Germany) with Andreas Kreft, is a clear continuation of this philosophy – looking for surprising configurations whilst paying a tribute to the local Bavarian culture and craftsmanship. The ambience of a typical Bavarian beer hall has been applied to the 40m² interior through amphitheater-style benches against opposing walls thus eliminating the common separation of bartender and guest, here interaction is key and everybody has a first row seat: from either tribune guests enjoy a view onto the two centrally placed bars and follow how Bax and his team mix, shake and stir up the cocktails. Also the bars have been stripped of all boundaries: workspace and bar are one. Dried flowers, herbs and leaves are stored and displayed in a wooden built-in cupboard that stretches the full length of the back wall; Besides ingredients, also the coffee machine and even the doors to the bathrooms and laboratory are seamlessly integrated and can be flexibly displayed or disguised behind lattices. Tribunes, bars and cupboards are executed in solid oak with a natural oil finish. White ceramic bottles are suspended from a black steel mesh attached to the ceiling, which contain self-made liqueurs, syrups and essences, in-between which light bulbs make for a reduced lighting scheme by night. Just like Bax’s cocktail ingredients, Buero Wagner procured all materials such as wood, ceramics (custom-made by Gefäß & Objekt) and steel locally, and worked in close collaboration with local carpenters and manufacturers to produce custom-made solutions.
Gamsei is a wholly integrated concept that turns the event of drinking a cocktail into a novel experience. The refreshing take on the cocktail bar extends further: bartenders, dressed in uniform leather aprons, serve their guests an amuse-gueule such as “Biersand”, after taking their coats upon entering, and the tribunes on either side – to be climbed only without shoes – allow for sports broadcasts.
More About the Architekts
Dipl. Ing. Univ. Fabian A. Wagner Architekt
Zugspitzstr. 18, 82211 Herrsching
Tel.: 08152 2252
Architects: Buero Wagner
Location: Buttermelcherstraße 9, 80469 Munich, Germany
Design Team: F. Wagner, A. Kreft
Collaborators: Karl and Maxi Wagner
Area: 40.0 sqm
Photographs: Jann Averweser, Simon and Sebastian Schels