These days, the Czech town of Pilsen is largely known for inventing the popular Pilsner beer style, but back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was home to the largest industrial conglomerate in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Wealthy residents there required finely designed apartments, and for that they turned to the influential modernist architect Adolf Loos. Although the Czechoslovak architect was a famous proponent of unadorned structures, between 1907 and 1932 he created luxurious and intriguing interiors for 11 apartments and houses in Pilsen. Long forgotten, these rare examples of Loos' interior design work recently underwent a restoration.
Many of the homes were owned by Jewish families who fled Pilsen in the 1930s when the Nazis rose to power, abandoning their properties. German troops requisitioned the apartments during World War II, and then they passed into the hands of Czechoslovakia's new Communist government in 1948. The luxurious apartments were converted into offices, seriously damaging their interiors in the process. Today, just eight of the 11 remain.
Four of Loos' distinctive interiors have now been restored with replicas of the original furniture, and the first two will open to the public in April. Considering they were designed by a man who believed that ornamentation hastened a building's march toward obsolescence (and that it was a crime to force builders to spend their time on such frivolous things), the newly restored apartments are surprisingly elaborate. Many feature marble and mahogany cladding, and are harmoniously laid out. "Until now, this body of work was entirely unknown to members of the public," Radek Auer, a spokesperson for this year's 2015 Pilsen Capital of Culture program, told the Art Newspaper. "Only a few experts knew about it."
· Rejected, neglected, saved: architect's interiors restored by Czech Capital of Culture [The Art Newspaper]
· All Adventures in Interior Design posts [Curbed National]