The Kartner Bar

Nominated by: Ben Kelly, Ben Kelly Design

Design: Adolf Loos

Location: Karntner Durchgang, Kartnerstrasse, Vienna, Austria

Contact: 00 43 15 12 32 83

Designed in 1907/8 by Adolf Loos, the Karntner, or American Bar, looks to the theatre for interior inspiration. It’s a dark and mysterious basement bar with harsh uplighting cast by frosted glass topped tables. Patrons sit in leather lined theatre boxes next to the bar, which runs the length of the interior. The space is doubled by a huge mirror on the back wall, reflected into infinity by mirrors running along the tops of the side walls and the ceiling. The bar has a black and white checked marble floor, while granite columns and beams separate the main room from two smaller bays. A staircase to the upper floor is made of alternate slabs of glass and concrete.

When designing Bar 10 in Glasgow, Ben Kelly looked to the bar for inspiration. ‘The Karntner Bar was the model for us, as it contains all the ingredients of longevity. It has a timelessness that is rare in modern interiors. Last I heard, its clientele comprised of local hookers and itinerant designers. I give it nine out of ten,’ says Kelly.

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