Part of Leo Brummel’s apartment

Klatovská třída 26/140 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
Public transport: Náměstí Míru (TRAM 4)
GPS: 49.7306328N, 13.3696475E

Another Pilsen design of the celebrated Adolf Loos is concealed behind the walls of No. 26 Klatovská Avenue, which Fritz Godderidge, chief engineer of the Škoda Engineering Works (Škodovy závody) had built by the local builder Václav Friš. The building on the western side of the expansive square Náměstí Míru had the then commonplace two-section layout with living spaces located on the street side and smaller rooms and service spaces facing the rear courtyard. In 1916, the house was supplied with electric lighting by the firm Müller & Kapsa, which ran a supply line across the square to the houses there owned by the company’s owners (C3–1076) as well as adjacent buildings.

In 1918, the house was bought by Moritz Brummel, co-owner of the tanning firm Brummel, Bloch & Waldstein, who set up the company’s headquarters there. Six years later, his son Leo moved with his family into the first floor of the house. In 1929, Leo commissioned Adolf Loos to modify the two rooms into a dining room with a relaxation area (two years later Leo’s brother Jan also engaged Loos’ services – see C2–741). Bořivoj Kriegerbeck and a joiner, Žáček, also participated in the Náměstí Míru assignment. 

As in other of his projects, Loos joined the two rooms into one large rectangular walk-through space, framed with red and black pine panelling. The same painted wood was used for all the dining-room furniture and the rails bordering the silver flock wallpaper. The centrepiece of the dining room consisted of a large table and wicker chairs with green upholstery (the same can be found in the Vogls’ flat at No. 12 Klatovská Avenue – see C2–455, and in the summer dining room of Villa Müller in Prague), illuminated by a large hanging lamp with a bell-shaped shade. Loos took pains to apply consistently the principle of symmetry, which, however, the street-side windows did not correspond to. The architect therefore complemented the line of windows with built-in cupboards and hung between them a grid with silk curtains concealing the asymmetry of the windows.

The rectangular pattern of the grid, evoking Japanese architecture, we find also in other designs by Loos, for example the window frames of Villa Müller in Prague and the dining room of the Hirschs’ flat at No. 6 Plachého Street in Pilsen (C2–812). The architect set two symmetrically-placed cupboards, one of which conceals the door, in adjacent corners of the room. Between them he set a sideboard and above it sixteen mirror panels that reflect daylight from the windows opposite.  

The smaller adjacent living room was dominated by a faux fireplace of Italian travertine with a built-in stove situated centrally opposite the entrance to the dining room. On each side of the fireplace was a relaxation area with built-in seats with black velvet upholstery and a black lacquered table with yellow and green Egyptian stools. This area was lined with yellow painted bookcases. The walls were covered up to the ceiling with green wallpaper. The colour contrast of the interior furnishings was typical of Loos, although here he used it also on practical grounds, because the client wished for an economical reconstruction and the architect therefore substituted his preferred precious materials with lively colours.  

The Brummel family, of Jewish extraction, was expelled from the apartment in 1941 and three years later deported first to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and later to the Auschwitz extermination camp, from which none of them was ever to return. The house, which was confiscated by the Nazi Emigration Fund for Bohemia and Moravia (Auswanderungsfond für Böhmen und Mähren) was damaged slightly in the bombing of Pilsen in December 1944. After the war, it was restored to the Brummel family, which, however, was forced to sell it to the state in 1962. In the late 1960s, the art historian Věra Běhalová attempted to have the dining room (the relaxation area no longer existed at that time) listed in the register of movable heritage items, but it was not until 2011 that this was achieved on the basis of a new proposal. At present, the flat is privately owned and not generally open to the public.  



Gertruda and Leo Brummel