Loos interiors

Introduction

The unique architectonic gem, which was created in Pilsen by a world-famous architect Adolf Loos in the 30´s of the 20th century for rich investors of the Jewish community, is a collection of eight apartment interiors.  Apart from experiencing the extraordinary first-republic design the guided tours of the Loos Interiors provide an interesting inside view into the life style of the Jewish community at the time of the origin of the interiors. Each of the interiors hides its own story of the fate of the families which lived there. But the Loos interiors are not only the reflection of the period when they were made. The stories of their inhabitants simultaneously illustrate historic event of the Second World War and consequently of the Communist regime as well.

In the context of the European architecture of the 20th century the Loos Interiors have an exceptional value.

In the context of the European architecture of the 20th century the Loos Interiors have an exceptional value which is supported by the fact that only the city of Vienna has a higher number of Adolf Loos´s pieces of work. The results of Loos´s work in Pilsen belong among his masterpieces together with the Müller´s Villa in Prague, the House of Tristan Tsara in Paris or the department store Goldman & Salatsch in Vienna.

The work of Adolf Loos was very modern and innovative at the time of its creation, it can be said that with his work he ran ahead of the time. The use of high-quality natural materials and maximum emphasis on the thoughtful function and internal apartment organisation are among the typical features of his work. Adolf Loos refused artificial ornaments and decoration, the main accent was in the practical use of the apartments and therefore his interiors feature built-in wardrobes and further atypical furniture which served to the apartment inhabitants for their everyday life and was highly modern for that period of time.

he work of Adolf Loos was very modern and innovative at the time of its creation.

The Work of Adolf Loos in Pilsen

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 bedroom of Kraus Family by Adolf LoosOne 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 dining room in Vogel´s apartment by Adolf LoosThe 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 by Adolf LoosThe 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.

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 by Adolf LoosIn 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 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 interior is privately owned, not accessible for public.

The interior is privately owned, not accessible for public.

Guided Tours of the Loos Interiors

Guided Tours of the Loos Interiors

Since the beginning of this touristic season the city of Pilsen offers another of its touristic sights which will attract more visitors to Pilsen – the guided tours of the apartment interiors created by the world-famous architect Adolf Loos. Four of the more than ten impressive creations based on the design by Adolf Loos which are located in Pilsen can be visited also outside the main touristic season, the guided tours are provided every Thursday and Saturday. The first two guided tours are opened since April and since then they have been visited by more than one thousand people. The third guided tour, which takes its visitors into the object of the partly reconstructed Semler Villa, is opened since November 12th.

The first guided tour of the Loos Interiors takes the tourists in two of the famous interiors. Apart from the former apartment of the Kraus family in 10 Bendova Street, they can also visit the former apartment of Dr Josef Vogel in 12 Klatovska Street. From this apartment a dining room and a salon were preserved. The second guided tour introduces a spacious two-generation apartment of the Brummel House in 58 Husova Street. The reconstruction of this object was finalized in the spring 2015. The last of the opened guided tours offers a visit to the first reconstructed part of the Semler Villa in 110 Klatovska Street.

Although all the interiors were designed by Adolf Loos or they were created based on his design, each of them carries its own very specific and unique features. All of them are definitely worth visiting. During the main touristic season the guided tours are provided every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday several times a day during the selected times. Outside the main touristic season, from November to March, the guided tours are provided only on Thursday and on Saturday.

With regard to the fact that the Loos Interiors are located in the upper parts of the town houses which were constructed at the end of the 19th century, the guided tour is not barrier-free and therefore it is not suitable for persons with limited ability to move. 

Guided Tour Nr. 1: The Guided Tour of the Kraus´ Apartment and the Vogel´s Apartment (10 Bendova and 12 Klatovska Street)

In the former apartment of the Kraus´ family in 10 Bendova Street there is a spectacular salon and dining room preserved with the opposite located mirror walls. This effect creates an optical illusion of infinity of the space. The rooms are covered by dark-green marble stone which even more encourages the magic atmosphere of the room.  The visitors can also see the practically equipped bedroom which features original in-built wardrobes and bedside table.

After finishing the guided tour in 10 Bendova Street, the visitors are taken to the house in 12 Klatovska Street which is located only 400 metres away from the house in 10 Bendova Street. Here the tourists enter the salon and the dining room of the former apartment of Dr Vogel. In both rooms you can see the original in-built furniture and luxurious wooden and marble wall covers.  After the reconstruction the rooms were equipped by the exact replicas of the original furniture so that the visitors can truly feel the atmosphere of the apartment at the time when the Vogel´s lived there. 

Guided Tour Nr.2: The Guided Tour of the Brummel House (58 Husova Street)

The Brummel House is the best preserved object featuring design by Adolf Loos. The house belonged to Jan and Jana Brummel and it is located in 58 Husova Street. Adolf Loos designed the reconstruction of the house which added an extended new part to the already existing house. The entire house was recreated and provided great place for purposeful living.  

The house including a part of the original furnishing ranks among the most beautiful creations by Adolf Loos in Pilsen. The visitors will be taken into five rooms of the former two-generation apartment. 

Guided Tour Nr.3: The Guided Tour of the Semler House (110 Klatovska Street)

The most famous feature used by Adolf Loos in his designs is so called raumplan. Nevertheless, of all the installations in Pilsen this feature can be found only in the house in 110 Klatovska Street. The interiors in the house were designed for Oskar and Jana Semler by Adolf Loos’ colleague and follower Heinrich Kulka. The principle of raumplan brings positioning of the various rooms within the house area differently into levels rather than into individual floors.

Recently, the house including the interior belongs to the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen which plans to use the space of the house as a documentary centre for architecture  of the 19th and 20th century in the Pilsen region.