Stay Awhile

The work of German photographer Robert Rieger is the mental photo you take in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, the split second you realize how deeply you love a space. Paradoxically, that look of authenticity is the product of meticulous planning.

Words by

Photos by

July 20, 2023

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Robert starts by walking through the space, using quick iPhone snaps like a notebook to plan shots. “I talk a lot with homeowners before I even take a picture to get a feeling of how they use the space and where they like to spend their time,” he says. He asks where they spend their afternoons, where they do work, how their kids use the space, and how the home has evolved or been renovated since they moved in.


The One Park Drive penthouses (2022) by architect Herzog & de Meuron were decorated by Tom Dixon with a combination of custom pieces and vintage furniture like this DS-600 Modular Sofa from de Sede.

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When Robert photographed the 2020 renovation of Volkshaus Basel by Herzog & de Meuron, natural light didn’t quite suffice. “This image is completely artificially lit with HMI lights from cherry pickers outside into the second floor,” Robert says.
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Aman-i-Khás was designed in 2004 by Denniston of Jean-Michel Gathy. The resort in Rajasthan, India consists of 10 luxury tents overlooking the wildlife of Ranthambore National Park.
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The pool at Aman-i-Khás is modeled after the ancient stepwells traditional to India.

“The eye sees the interior completely differently than the camera so it needs some styling and adjustment,” Robert says. “But in general I like to photograph it how a homeowner has it so you really see the character of the people as well.”

Luckily for Robert and his ability to find personality in interiors, he has seen the once-ubiquitous empty, minimalist style lose popularity. “Instead people are showing their characters through the apartment by their weird collections or their artwork,” he says. He sees homeowners and designers eager to take more risks, combining interior design styles and brighter and warmer colors to express themselves.

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The Roattino Lamp by Eileen Gray for ClassiCon in The Village, interior design by Gisbert Pöppler
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The Village, interior design by Gisbert Pöppler
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Robert’s ability to capture a lively space is perhaps best on display in his work for the international luxury Aman Resorts and other hotels and restaurants. “Often it’s the case that I’m photographing while they’re still constructing, and there are workers running around, and there’s a lot of dust. Behind the camera it looks like complete construction work.”

Looking at the resulting photos you would never guess the space was relatively untouched. Robert finds details, like the way sunlight falls across the Japanese wallpaper at Aman New York, to tell the story of a life in the space before it has even happened.


The home of Jules Villbrandt in Berlin is full of the blogger’s collections—like her green Snoopy Lamp for Flos on a Montana Furniture modular sideboard.

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The suites at Aman New York, designed by Denniston in 2022 inside the Crown Building, feature a large mural inspired by the 15th-century Japanese artwork “Pine Trees” by Hasegawa Tōhaku.
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The design of Aman New York blends East and West influences to create a serene space on one of Manhattan’s busiest corners.
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Space outfitted by Berlin-based vintage furniture boutique Coroto
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Architect Ascan Mergenthaler designed his home untraditionally—the bedroom doubles as a study and private living room in a large and open, loft-like space.

“That’s what I enjoy as well—to build up these nice, amazing spaces with the camera,” he says. “Photographing an apartment, a huge space for artists, hotels, or restaurants are all so different. And that’s what I enjoy. Even if it’s completely different interior styles, you can tell the story with your photographs and combine these spaces.”

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“It is a place to listen to records, enjoy the fire in the open fireplace, or watch a movie we project onto the wall in the evenings,” Ascan told bedwear brand Magniberg, who commissioned the shoot from Robert.
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Designed in 2022 by Bali-based architects Alexis Dornier and Maximilian Jencquel, Lost Lindenberg hotel in Bali hosts guests in eight studio-like rooms in watchtowers decked out in soft linens and cozy dark wood rather than the typical rattan and bamboo.
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The 16th century Renaissance Üselitz Manor House still contains traces of its 500-year past; the ground floor has the remains of cross vaults, niches, and stucco, and the upper floors are increasingly modern and modest.
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In Berlin, chef Dalad Kambhu’s restaurant Kin Dee (which means “eat well” in Thai) infuses Thai style with German precision for a Michelin Guide dining experience.


A version of this article originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 10 as part of the “Stay Awhile” feature, where life comes into focus through the lenses of photographers Robert Rieger, Alice Mesguich, Sean Fennessy, and Fabian MartínezSubscribe today.

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