Apartment designed by Adolf Loos

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The Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery has saved from destruction and continues to operate a unique architectural gem in Prague, so-called Hirsch Apartment, designed in 1927 by the founder of the world's modern architecture of the twentieth century Adolf Loos. The name of Adolf Loos is therefore proudly included in the company's name.

The apartment is one of the most important in the world in terms of its significance and the original solitary furniture by the architect Adolf Loos, dating from 1901-1931. In 2014, the apartment was included in the prestigious global network of architectural designs Iconic Houses

Apartment today

Adolf Loos (1870-1933)

Adolf Loos was one of the greatest pioneers of his time. Unimpressed by the concepts and ideas of architecture and design that were predominant in the early twentieth century, he decided to tread an uncompromising path to arrive at a functional form of architecture and design.

He did not believe in ornamentation or design and architecture governed by artistic parameters, which was also very evident in his work – not only as an architect and a designer but also as an author. After returning to Vienna, following a three-year stay in America, he went on to become one of the most radical supporters of a new school of thought that completely rejected all ornamental and non-functional elements. He was extremely meticulous in his selection of materials and designs for the interior as well as the exterior. However, clarity in architecture and design by no means implied that he gave short shrift to the creation of a pleasant atmosphere in the rooms he designed. In fact, he gave equal importance to modernity and comfort.

Adolf Loos, zdroj: Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery
Adolf Loos, zdroj: Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery
Oskar Kokoschka - portrét Adolfa Loose,1909, zdroj: Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery
Adolf Loos, zdroj: Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery
Adolf Loos, zdroj: Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery

History of the apartment

Adolf Loos created several masterpieces in Bohemia in which the reduction and simplification of the exterior and interior is visible. In 1907, he designed the home of the entrepreneurial couple Martha and Wilhelm Hirsch. It was only in the 1980s that it was discovered this wasn’t the only design Loos realised for the Hirsch family. During the 1920s, almost at the same time as he was working on the Villa Müller in Prague, Loos also designed a bachelor’s apartment for Martha and Willy’s son Richard. This apartment was located in the same building as the better known Hirsch apartment, only on a different floor.

In 1988, this forgotten architectural treasure was discovered by Vladimír Lekes, director of the Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery. He saved the apartment from destruction, restored it at his own expense, and thus breathed new life into it at a similarly designed apartment near the old Jewish cemetery in Prague. The apartment was then suitably supplemented with many rare originals, mostly from Loos's Viennese realisations.

Orderers of the apartment
Portrait of Martha Hirsch (mother of Richard Hirsch) by Kalman Kemeny, private collection
Portrait of Martha Hirsch by Oskar Kokoschka from 1909, Neue Galerie New York
Portrait of Adolf Loos by Oskar Kokoschka from 1909, The National Gallery Berlin
Portrait of Wilhelm Hirsch (father of Richard Hirsch) by Oskar Kokoschka from 1909, National Gallery Berlin
Portrait, probably of Martha Hirsch, by Oskar Kokoschka from 1916, The National Gallery Berlin
The original owners of the apartment, Richard Hirsch with his wife Marieluis.

Apartment restoration

All furniture and furnishings have been professionally and meticulously restored. Great care has been taken to preserve original techniques, both in the treatment of surface areas and in the use of original materials where this was unavoidably necessary. Professor Burkhardt Rukschcio, the world's foremost expert on the work of the architect Adolf Loos and author of the inventory of his work, provided expert supervision throughout the restoration work and the installation of the apartment.

Condition of Loos' original apartment before restoration.

Apartment equipment

The apartment features two of Loos's best-known furniture designs, the padded armchairs known as the “Knieschwimmer”. The older one, dating from around 1905, was made by the Austrian company F. O. Schmidt. The shorter version of the armchair, from 1931, comes from the production of the Czech factory UP závody (originally in the apartment of the director of the Tatra factory, engineer Veverka). Adolf Loos also used similar chairs in the interior design of the Müller's villa in Prague's Stresovice. One version of these chairs was also installed in the Knize boutique on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

A folding table with a brass desk, which is now also part of the suite, originally stood in the master suite of the Viennese businessman Georg Roy (Loos' design from 1901-1904).

In the corridor at the entrance of the apartment there is a unique large wardrobe from the Leschka & Co menswear store (originally at Spiegelgasse 13, Vienna). The cabinet was built in 1923 and is one of Loos’s major designs.

Other unique furniture items by Adolf Loos - an office armchair with armrests, a clock (originally in Ville Strasser, Gersthofen), several important lights, or his personal smoking set and other original designs by Adolf Loos - can be seen in the apartment.

Purchased in London, the round mahogany table with a marble top, known as the “Elefantenrüsseltisch” (1912, produced by F. O. Schmidt, using the same marble that Loos had selected for his interior of the American Bar in Vienna) and four rare chairs are from the estate of Dr. Valentin Rosenfeld, Loos's lawyer, of Jewish descent, who fled to Britain after the Nazis seized Vienna. These items were used by such illustrious guests as Sigmund Freud, a family relation of Dr Rosenfeld, or Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. Bought directly from Dr Rosenfeld’s son, the table and chairs originally occupied the music room at his father's apartment in Vienna (Wattmanngasse 11, Vienna).

Purchased in Prague, the set of crystal glasses with hand-carved bases and two carafes were produced by the Austrian firm J. & L. Lobmeyr around 1931. The first design of this series was created by Loos for his student, the Olomouc architect Paul Engelmann.

Apartment achievements

Solitaire furniture, which is part of Richard Hirsche's apartment, has been very successful several times at prestigious exhibitions in the Czech Republic and abroad, such as The Adolf Loos Exhibitionat the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, at The Au Temps de Klimt, la Sécession Vienna in the Pinacotheque de Paris (2015) and others.

In 2012, a book was published in honour of the opening of the apartment by Professor Burkhardt Rukschcius, entitled Adolf Loos: Apartment for Richard Hirsch. The trilingual book places the design and realisation of the apartment in the context of Loos' work. Part of the publication consists of pictorial documentation.

In 2014, the apartment was included in the prestigious global network of architectural designs Iconic Houses.

In 2019, was published a new book about the architecture and design entitled “150 Houses You Must See Before Death” by renowned Belgian authors Thijs Demeulemeester and Jacinthe Giga. Adolf Loos Apartment has been ranked among the 150 most beautiful architectural icons thanks to its advanced and sophisticated design designed by the famous architect Adolf Loos. The authors mentioned the most famous private houses and apartments from various corners of the world, constructed by renowned architects of the 20th century. Selected houses and interiors are unique due to their construction or aesthetics. It is a high-quality handbook for admirers of architecture and design. We are delighted that Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery has joined this prestigious world network.

In 2020, a video documentary filmed in Richard Hirsch's apartment to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous architect Adolf Loos can be found here

In 2023, the apartment was part of the Iconic Houses international conference in May. The event was an extraordinary opportunity for professionals, architects and architecture lovers to attend lectures by renowned experts from around the world. The event also included visits to individual famous sites, including Richard Hirsch's apartment.

General director of Austrian national gallery Belvedere, Agnes Husslein-Arco
President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus
President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus
John Mucha, the grandson of the painter Alfons Mucha
Czech visual artist Krištof Kintera
The representative of Czech informel, Antonín Málek

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architecture)

Introduction of Richard Hirsch’s Apartment by Adolf Loos at the Royal Institute of British Architects during the Adolf Loos Season in London, 2011. The apartment was exhibited in cooperation with The City of Prague Museum. 

Adolf Loos Season in RIBA.

Iconic Houses
In Press