Hannes Tiefenthaler Creates Table Place Setting Designs for World-Renowned Chefs

There are days when everything seems to go wrong. When small mishaps and delays cascade into each other like dominoes, no matter how hard you try to stop each one from falling. When you’re traveling, days like this seem to be at least ten times more likely to occur.

The day that we met Hannes Tiefenthaler was like this; one mishap following another until all we could do was shake our heads and laugh.

Rochini - Tabletop Architect, Designers of the Table Place Setting

Hannes is the owner of Rochini, a company that creates complete tableware solutions, including table place setting design, to complement fine dining experiences. He works with some of the most celebrated chefs in the world, including Wolfgang Puck, Christian Bau, and Sven Wassmer. We had planned to catch a train four hours to the Austrian town of Rankweil to meet Hannes and interview him about his work, and then catch the train four hours back. It was going to be a long day in transit, but we didn’t really imagine that much could go wrong. Plus, we already had to reschedule the interview once because of a delayed flight, so surely we had already used up our bad luck.

Of course, everything ended up going wrong. Our first train was cancelled, then we were directed to the wrong tracks, then we were given the wrong itinerary so we tried to change trains at the wrong station. When we finally got on the right train it turned out we were at the wrong end (which we didn’t even know was possible), and while the other end of the train split off and continued going in the direction we wanted, our end returned us to a station that we had left an hour before.

At every delay I had to call Hannes, who we hadn’t yet met in person, and say “we’re still coming, we promise!” It wasn’t exactly the first impression we wanted to make. When we finally did meet Hannes in person, all we could do was laugh at the day we’d had. The series of delays and mishaps had taken almost the entire day, so there was no time to even do the interview, let alone get all the way back. Instead, we rescheduled the interview for the next day and went out to dinner with Hannes and his lovely wife, Sybille.

We ended up having an absolutely fantastic time. We were able to explore more of the quaint town of Rankweil than we would have otherwise. And, we were able to get to know more about Hannes and Sybille and the passion they have for their business, Rochini.

Downtown Feldkirch Austria in the Evening
Hannes, Sybille, Jeremy and Caleb enjoying dinner after a very long day of train travel.
Hannes, Sybille, Jeremy and Caleb enjoying dinner after a very long day of train travel.

For Hannes, a successful tabletop means that, “You don’t need words.” Instead, “if you enter the room, you feel it in two or three seconds.”

Through Rochini, Sybille and Hannes partner with the best chefs, restaurateurs, and hotels in the world to create tabletop solutions that are completely unique. They design complete tabletop concepts that support the textures, flavors, colors, and ideas that are brought to life by expert chefs, as well as complement the architecture, interior design, and feel of a restaurant. The products that Rochini supplies are sourced from a small, hand selected group of designers, producers, artists, and suppliers who provide the finest quality products made from organic materials.

Rochini tabletops reflect an enthusiasm for beauty and craftsmanship that has been part of the Tiefenthaler family for generations. Hannes himself is a trained master baker from a family of master bakers. He can understand not only the language of chefs, but their passion and dedication to their food. It is the same enthusiasm that Hannes and Sybille bring to their tabletop designs. For Hannes, a successful tabletop means that, “You don’t need words.” Instead, “if you enter the room, you feel it in two or three seconds.”

Even though our journey to Rankweil started in disaster, we had an incredible time with Hannes and Sybille in their beautiful Austrian town. In the end, we were glad for the delays and mishaps, because they gave us more time to slow down and appreciate the experience, rather than try to rush through it. In fact, days like these are one of my favorite things about travel, because it’s usually when things seem like they’re going wrong that the most enjoyable and unexpected experiences occur.