Throwback: The Restored Work of Adolf Loos – Discover the lost creations of this interior design master.
Adolf Loos is recognized for being one of the greatest Austrian and Czechoslovak architects and interior designers of his time, but also an influential theorist, who brought to light the discussions about the Modern Architecture – and how smooth and clear it should be, in contrast to the lavish Fin de siècle aesthetics. Although noted for the lack of ornamentation – read ‘Ornament and Crime’ essay here, Loos’s interiors are finished with rich and expensive materials like stone, marble and wood, executed in a distinguished craftsmanship.
He was a revolutionary, but also an agent provocateur. In 1922, the American newspaper Chicago Tribune organized a design contest for their headquarters. 260 architects participated in it and Loos was one of them, delivering a drawing of a skyscraper shaped as a dorical column, representing the inadequacy of the previous architectural styles and, once again, claiming for a new approach. Just like his writings, it was a theoretical provocation.
Loos is famous for some notable buildings, which include his 1910 Goldman & Salatsch Building, in Vienna, as well as numerous private residences like Villa Muller in Prague. But there’s a hidden treasure that he completed between 1907 and 1932, one year ahead of his death: a series of interiors in Pilsen – an important Czech city located in the West Bohemia, which were completely unknown to the public, until recently. These interiors were designed for wealthy Jewish families, but they were forced to leave their apartments as soon as Nazism started to rise in Europe.
Interior details from 12 Klatovska Street.
After the II World War, the apartments were taken by the communist regime and divided into smaller flats – and some completely destroyed, causing a real damage to this important architectural legacy. The original owners, with one exception, never returned to their homes and therefore the memory of Loos’s creations slowly got lost. The first steps to recover what was left over were made in 2004, by the city of Pilsen, when an apartment in 12 Klatovska Street was partly reconstructed. The other properties, such as 10 Bendova Street, Brummel House and 58 Husova Street were recovered shortly after, making the Pilsen 2015 – European Capital of Culture even more rich and interesting as a project. The interiors are available to visit and the tour details can be found on the city’s website.
Materials: Marble – Marble stone which was called ‘Fantastico’ by Adolf Loos creates various fantasy pictures thanks to its interesting layering structure and completion. The fantasy pictures resemble the Rorschach test of ink stains.
Decoration: Mirrors – Loos’s favourite interior element was a feature of so-called enfilade. In case of the salon in the Kraus apartment he created a fascinating illusion of an infinitely multiplied picture of the room thanks to the mirrors which were placed on the opposing walls.
“Adolf Loos is a significant personality of modern architecture and Pilsen was truly lucky for most of his apartment interior conversions to have been realised here,” said Pilsen mayor Martin Baxa. “It can rival even Vienna for the number of such unique spaces.” We couldn’t agree more.
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