If work and other commitments were not a concern, where would be your ideal place to live?
I would definitely love to live permanently in Los Angeles, west LA or Venice Beach. What I like most about LA is that it’s big enough and diverse enough for almost any lifestyle. Whatever you want to find, it’s probably there! All religions are represented, all walks of life. I like to joke that you can even meet Jesus at Starbucks there. There is never a time when there’s nothing to do or no place to go.
What are your favourite shops in Vienna?
I love the Lena Hoschek store, Callisti by Martina Müller and designs from Thang de Hoo. And I adore Peek & Cloppenburg.
And your favourite Viennese restaurants?
One of my favourites is Neni on Naschmarkt. They have really excellent food. I could sit there all day eating their hummus, tahina and tabouleh and their signature Caesar salad is yummy. I also like Ramien and ShanghaiTan on Gumpendorferstrasse.
What is your favourite Vienna neighbourhood?
I like the fourth, fifth and sixth districts. The fourth is a favourite because it’s close to Naschmarkt, where you can eat fresh healthy food and meet all kind of religions. The fifth is more arty and the sixth, Mariahilferstrasse, is pretty much central with lots of stores. Plus you can easily get anywhere else on a bike if you live in one of these districts.
What advice would you give visitors to Vienna?
They should definitely check out all the museums, galleries and historical places. I recommend the Naturhistorisches Museum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Leopold Museum, the MuseumsQuartier, the Schönbrunn palace, and Stephansplatz. There are lots of galleries in the first district. And in winter, the Christkindlmarkt is held in front of the Rathaus!
What are the distinguishing qualities of Viennese design?
For the Jugendstil look to the Vienna Secession, see the Karl-Borromäus-Kirche and the Kirche am Steinhof. For Baroque and rococo, visit the Schloss Schönbrunn, Karlskirche and Schloss Belvedere. Stephansdom cathedral is Gothic, and the Parlament, Votivkirche, Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches Museums, university and town hall date from 1830 to 1880.
What product or brand would you recommend as typically Viennese?
Typical products are Mozart chocolate, Manner schnitten wafer biscuits and Sachertorte. Visitors should get the DVD called Ein echter Wiener geht nicht unter! with subtitles. Art Deco jewellery by Elisabeth Koller is also typical. You can find it in the first district.