Cafes and Bars: Living in the Public (Interior Architecture) by Grafe Bollerey

By Grafe Bollerey

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All three consist of a differentiated set of double-height rooms of considerable size, a layout that was reminiscent of London’s gentlemen’s clubs of the same period. 53 The coffee rooms are located on the ground floor and along the street, allowing a direct view of the street (Fig. 14). The spaces are shown as relatively sparsely furnished; there are banquettes along walls or piers and small, round tables. Another customary arrangement, used for example by Café Griensteidl, Café Sperl and Adolf Loos’ Café Museum, was that of occupying an Lshaped venue on the corner of two streets.

Specialist café designers have become versatile in creating interiors that offer perfect illusions of age and patina. Nineteenth-century techniques of treating woodwork and glass have been revived, entire rural regions are being ransacked for ‘authentic’ furniture and transported to Amsterdam, Paris or Berlin. Traces of decades are created, and nicotine stain applied from bottles suggests a history of smoke-filled nights of intense café life imagined by a clientele happy to believe the fiction.

Pp. 20 London pub: Assembly Rooms, Kentish Town, London This layout, in fact an efficient machine serving a series of distinct spaces, provided the background for the invention of an extensive catalogue of decorative elements and trimmings, of mahogany woodwork, frosted and engraved glass, brass fittings and ceiling ornaments. Specialist architects, who like their peers designing shops, music halls or popular theatres, operated as skilled commercial designers, could rely on this catalogue of mass-produced parts which only needed to be assembled to achieve the desired effect.

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