Hotel Central - Plzeň (Czech Rep.)

Echoes of the past: the teachings of Adolf Loos live on

The spirit of the early 20th-century architect comes back to life in the restoration of a magnificent Bohemian hotel
Elena Pasoli
AVE architekt a.s.
Year of completion

Located 90 km from Prague, the city of Plzeň (better known by its German name Pilsen) is not only an important industrial centre renowned above all for its beer but is also home to magnificent works of architecture. These include eight splendid interiors designed by Adolf Loos, the great early 20th-century Austrian architect who is now recognised as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.
Loos’s work provided the inspiration for the architects from the practice AVE Architekt in their complex renovation project for the Hotel Central, the only hotel and also the most modern building in Pilsen’s main square with a view of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. Originally called Hotel Ural, it was built in the 1960s to a splendid design by architect Jaroslava Gloserová and subsequently underwent a series of renovations. «The hotel lobby and corridors display a stratification of different interventions,» explain architects Tomá? Fiala and Václav Ulč. «We find sumptuous elements such as marble floors, tile mosaics and genuine works of art such as the stained glass windows in the hotel lobby, all of which are of indisputable value. Unfortunately, however, the more recent layers failed to come up to the same standard, as in the case of the wood panelling that was used to cover up the worn out areas in an attempt to keep the appearance of the interior at an acceptable level. The result was depressing and far inferior to the interior design of the new hotels built in the area.»
The design project for the lobby and reception area aimed to uncover the previous high-quality materials by stripping away the poor-quality layers applied during the socialist period and thereby create a link between the original concept and the new design. The spaces were entirely redistributed and the materials chosen taking account of the limited amount of natural lighting, with a preference for solutions that would be both functional and visually striking.
«The main materials used in the building are white, grey and black marble, ceramic mosaic, steel and wood,» continue the architects. «The original marble flooring in the reception area was beyond repair, so we replaced it with large Italian ceramic slabs measuring up to 1.6 x 3.2 metres, which we also used on the walls, in colours as close as possible to the original marble: Statuario (grey-white) and Marquinia (black and white) from the I Classici di Rex collection (Made in Florim). These hi-tech materials combine very high aesthetic quality with outstanding performance in terms of strength and durability.
The marble-effect FLORIM stone surface in the distinctive Marquinia colour is also used to decorate the reception desk and make it stand out against the white of the surrounding space. The LED strip lighting on the front of the desk and above it the slatted pendant lamp with brass detailing and LEDs echo the architectural design of the façade, characterised by the blade-like projecting loadbearing walls typical of Bohemian architecture of the period. The mouldings and the alternation between the dominant materials in a neutral tone and warm coloured elements are inspired by the hotel’s original architecture. The interior as a whole pays tribute to Adolf Loos and his work in Pilsen. The veins on the ceramic tiles chosen for the walls have an unusual graphic effect reminiscent of a moose’s head, prompting the play on words with which AVE Architekt presented the project: «Los or Loos?» Or translating from the Czech: «Moose or Loos?»

Rex, I Classici
porcelain stoneware
80x80,160x320, decoro open book-320x320, decoro chain-240x360
Statuario, Marquinia
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,08%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA, GLB
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): CL2, CL4
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 52 N/mm2 *
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): >0,42 wet
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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