The Work of Adolf Loos in Pilsen
Adolf Loos worked in Pilsen in two periods, between the years 1907 – 1910 and 1927 – 1932. His clients were primarily the families of entrepreneurs from the rich Pilsen Jewish community. They lived in the area of today’s Klatovska Street – a part of the city which was then considered a locality for luxurious living. The clients of Adolf Loos were a closed group of friends for whom his designs provided certain sign of social status and they recommended his work one to another. The Jewish origin of the Loos Interiors owners at the beginning of the 30´s of the 20th century tragically marked the fate of the families, as well as of the apartments which they were later forced to leave. Some of the apartments were transformed into offices; others were later demolished by their tenants. Only recently the work of Adolf Loos in Pilsen has been rehabilitated and one after another the apartments are being renovated to acquire their once lost splendour.
At this time thirteen realizations form the collection of work of Adolf Loos in Pilsen, eight of them remained preserved up to now. Three of the interiors have been partially or fully reconstructed; the other apartments are in various degrees of damage and wait for their future modernisation. In comparison to other places where Adolf Loos worked, in Pilsen he was never awarded a project to design a whole new building. Mostly, he dealt with apartment adaptation design of the city houses which were in no way exceptional regarding their building structure. Therefore, an uninitiated observer cannot know that some of the ordinary houses hide real gems of world-class interior design.
The Interior of Vilem and Gertruda Kraus Family (in 10 Bendova Street)
One of the most beautiful Pilsen apartment interiors was designed by Adolf Loos for the needs of chemist specialist Vilem Kraus and his wife Gertruda between the years 1930 to 1931. The family of Jewish origin was affected by a grievous fate at the end of the 1930s. Vilem left for England in 1939 to prepare a new home for his family there. Unfortunately, his wife and children did not manage to flee and deceased in extermination camps.
The most valuable part of the apartment is the drawing room interconnected with dining room. Its superposed glassed walls create the effect of the so-called infinite enfilade, which means an endlessly multiplied image. The room is faced by white-green marble Cipollino; the ceiling is formed by black mahogany tiles. The hall as a whole creates a magical impression. The bedroom provides an example of comfortably fitted built-in wardrobes.
The Interior of Josef Vogel´s Apartment (in 12 Klatovska Street)
The apartment of doctor Josef Vogel was designed by Adolf Loos in the 20´s of the 20th century in the house in 12 Klatovska Street. The house was originally owned by the family of Emil Skoda. One of the apartments was later occupied by the family of industrialist Otto Beck for whom Adolf Loos designed the apartment interior already in 1908. Later on, the daughter of Otto Beck became the third wife of Adolf Loos. The flat was then owned by the doctor of Jewish origin Josef Vogel. At that time Adolf Loos redesigned the whole apartment again including the consulting room of the doctor.
During the period of Nazis occupation the house was confiscated by Germans. From the original apartment of the doctor Josef Vogel only two rooms were preserved – the salon with the dining room and built-in furniture, wooden wall tiles and travertine tiling in the dining room. The rooms are furnished by exact replicas of the original furniture.
The Brummel House ( 58 Husova Street)
The house and equipment reconstruction of the interior was designed by Adolf Loos for Jan and Jana Brummel in 58 Husova Street, the realization was finished in 1929. The house survived not only the massive bombing of the Skoda plants at the end of the Second World War but also the attempts of various state offices for its demolition in the 80´s of the 20th century. After the war the house was returned to the family members of the original owners. A private owner, a relative of the constructors, is renovating the house in a sensitive way and plans its opening for public within the guided tour of the Loos Interiors at the beginning of the tourist season in 2015.
The Oskar and Jana Semler House (10 Klatovska Street)
Although Adolf Loos´s the most famous element used in many of his interior installations is a so-called Raumplan, in Pilsen this element is used only in the interior designed for Oskar and Jana Semler by the student and colleague of Adolf Loos Heinrich Kulka in the villa house 110 Klatovska Street. The element of Raumplan creates its effect by various distributions of individual room ceilings heights. The house with its interior is currently maintained by the West Bohemian Gallery. The Gallery plans to establish a Documentation Centre for Architectonic Studies of the 19th and 20th Century in Pilsen Region after the renovation of the house. Also this interior shall be partly opened for public.
The House of Hugo Semler (19 Klatovska Street)
In the spacious apartment of the entrepreneur Hugo Semler on the first floor of his house in 19 Klatovska Street there is a dining room, salon and music salon preserved up to nowadays. The rooms date back to the period 1931 - 1933. The music salon is indisputably the work of Adolf Loos; the second two rooms were designed in Loos´s style. During the Second World War the interior was used as a study of the army commandant of the city of Pilsen Georg von Majewsky who shot himself dead in the apartment following the capitulation of Germany in May 1945. Since the end of the war to 1993 the house, including the Adolf Loos interior, was used by the army. The house is still waiting for its reconstruction and is not accessible for public.
The Apartment of Richard Hirsch (6 Placheho Street)
The first owners of a Loos design in their flat were the married couple of Martha and Wilhelm Hirsch. The interior of their apartment in 6 Placheho Steet was designed already in 1907. This interior no longer exists but on the second floor of the same house there are preserved some apartment fragments which Adolf Loos created in 1927 for their son Richard Hirsch. It is a bedroom with built-in wardrobes. The further flat furnishing including wall tiles was transported from the apartment in the 80´s of the 20th century and it is up to recently a part of a privately owned Gallery of Adolf Loos in Prague. This Loos interior is currently accessible for public only on special occasions.
The House of the Weiner Family (22 Republic Square)
The interior is privately owned, not accessible for public.
The Apartment of Leo and Gertruda Brummel (140 Klatovska Street)
The interior is privately owned, not accessible for public.