AREA | Simon Ladner

Good art needs to be paired with good design but why do we often skip the latter? Simon Ladner from AREA – create identity, who designed this year’s viennacontemporary VIP Lounge with vitra, shares his tips on decorating your perfect home. Where to go, what to buy and how much to spend.



VC: How did you end up in your role at AREA?
Simøn Ladner: 
Originally I attended a Higher Technical College for interior design and cabinetry in Hallstatt and after that I gained some practical skills in technical planning and construction. However furniture was always my passion so after 5 years I started to work for AREA in Salzburg. Soon I was given the chance to build up the location in Linz and was offered a management position. I’m a very design oriented person and I like to work with people and my main goal is to get them more into design nowadays.

What is AREA and what does the company do?
We plan, design, furnish, think and connect spaces. AREA is a design driven company focussed on both selling designer furniture pieces but also we strongly interact with the customer/client to find the best and most suitable solution for each challenge. We also do planning for private homes and work environments such as office spaces, restaurants, hotels, etc. Therefore we start with lots of groundwork and also provide workshops to accompany the client from the very beginning. AREA was founded 25 years ago in Salzburg and has profound knowledge in various aspects of interior design. We work together with the best brands in furniture such as vitra, USM, Fritz Hansen, Moroso, Living Divani, Carl Hansen and many more.

What are your core design principles?
It is a very odd question for me as I don’t have any principles when it comes to design. It should always work for the project, the space, the room and the customer. I like to keep things simple when it comes to form and then use colours to create the highlight. Every person and every environment is different so it has to work individually.

Design and Inspiration


What brands do you go to when looking for inspiration?
Well, I generally still love lookbooks and design catalogues over digital stuff but of course Pinterest and Instagram are also of huge inspiration nowadays. I like to browse through Kinfolk, AD or the Weekender Magazines and when it comes to brands, I like the styling of &tradition and Menu. But I also love the inspiration of fashion and street art, to name a few, Raf Simons or Kanye West for example.

Do you have a favourite chair or piece of furniture?
When it comes to chairs I have to say Chair One designed by Konstantin Grcic and produced by the Italian manufacturer Magis. It is still a very futuristic and iconic design although it is 15 years old now and I liked it ever since I first saw it. I’m also a big fan of the Eames Lounge Chair because it’s an overall classic and still so timeless and relevant after all these years. It will never go out of style.


Do you have any favourite furniture/interior design stores in Vienna?
If you are in Vienna, stop by Mood in Schleifmühlgasse, which has a fantastic showroom and always a cool exhibition. Lichterloh in Gumpendorfer Straße has some cool vintage pieces from the past. To get a good overview of the vitra and Artek collection visit the flagship store at Schottenring 12.

How do you see the future of workspaces?
The future will be more flexible with laptops and tablets moving in almost every office situation. Therefore a more open and not so strict working situation is granted and the furniture also affects this. You probably wouldn’t need a fixed desktop anymore but could choose your working environment depending on what work you have to do or with which colleagues you have to work with. I want to see different areas and opportunities in workspaces and less single offices and hallways, which are total nonsense and just a waste of space. The future should be more lively and fun to work in.

Back to the Basics


What are the most basic core elements one needs to make a beautiful space?
For me personally it’s a nice floor and well-balanced wall colours and a big wooden table with good chairs – you can work, eat, host friends, sleep underneath or on it, dance or have a party.

If I gave you a living room and a budget of 2000 euros, what would you do to that space?
Well, not much, I would paint one wall in my favourite colour and go for a nice cosy rug to go with it. I would also buy an Eames RAR rocking chair and a Flos Mayday Lamp and a big plant. On top of this, I would get a piece from the cork family that you can either use as a side table or as a stool. So you will have the basic equipment to watch TV, read a book or just to swing back and relax.

What advice would you give someone who is starting out with the decoration of his or her own home?
Don’t go after any trends or hypes but rather use colours you personally like and will like for a long time. Most people are stressed to get everything at once but in my opinion it should develop over time plus it’s nice if you get new pieces here and there. If you have the budget, start with a classic piece of furniture because it will look good in many different environments and places plus it is a good investment. Buy less but seek high-quality pieces.

viennacontemporary 2018Photo credits: (c)kunst-dokumentation.com

Photo credits: AREA/Christian Leopold

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Save the Date
26 – 29 September 2019
Marx Halle Vienna





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