Gams 1648, Bezau
A novel take on tradition
TEXT: Renate Breuß and Marina Hämmerle
Ellen Nenning and Andreas Mennel have created a whole new world around the traditional Gasthaus Gams in Bezau. They call it ‘GAMS zu zweit’ – GAMS for two. It is a classy hideaway for couples. While the sleek, simple shapes of its exterior give little away, the interior of the modern timber buildings reveal a veritable explosion of colours, forms and design elements. It brings the Salone di Mobile to the Bregenzerwald – its credo: let us celebrate life and love to the very fullest!
The main building, constructed in 1648, was inherited by Ellen Nenning, who promptly expanded and renovated it to bring it into the modern era. Buzzing with initiative, Ellen was keen to make her charming, urban vision a stylish reality. Together with her business partner, she came up with a concept that redefines the relationship between the house and its guests and seeks to create encounters and autonomy at every level. The building was stripped down to the load-bearing walls and beams. Its new spatial structure stretches across three storeys. Connected by a spiral staircase, they feature a Biedermeier-style parlour, a large table for regulars and the traditional „Bierstüble“ inn. Everything has been built to impress: the unique design is full of surprising details, all manufactured in the Bregenzerwald tradition of quality craftsmanship, and courageously transcends the area’s established architectural style.
The former wine house in the basement has been transformed into a shop offering an impressively showcased range of wines and sophisticated takeaway meals. A florist and a hairdresser complete the complex. For guests with plenty of time and a love of fine wine, the converted parlours also function as a splendid venue for extensive tastings across multiple floors.
Besides the eleven-metre-tall, floor-to-ceiling wine shelf, from which guests may help themselves to any bottles they fancy – the physical manifestation of a wine menu – an original Neapolitan pizza oven clad in golden mosaics forms the centrepiece of the room. The pizzas served here are as authentic as you would expect: with a crispy base and elaborate toppings, they are just as well suited for sharing as the award-winning wines. All wines are available for retail price plus corkage. Tech-savvy guests can reserve a time slot online; booking ahead is strongly recommended. Those who drop in unannounced will be lucky to find a table: the Gams is usually fully booked.
The restaurant and concept are not for everyone, but those who enter with an open mind will be rewarded with culinary highlights in a sociable and surprisingly urban ambiance in the middle of the Bregenzerwald.