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Vienna Diary 2: Adolf Loos Bar

(Added 8 June 2008)

Kärntner Bar (American Bar), Adolf Loos, 1907. photo: Susannah Wesley, 2008

”...with pieces of blue, white and deep red glass like in a western, the filtered light from the ceiling’s marble coffers and the undersides of the translucent tables gave you the sense of well-being. You sipped your drink like a disillusioned pleaure-seeker. The ice cubes in your glass seemed to warm themselves in the magnificent evening light which filtered through the onyx squares of the fan-light over the narrow door.” – O. Kokoschka, Ma vie (1907?)

When walking into the bar from the bright outdoors, the dark interior creates a complete loss of physical bearing. The mirrored and amber cubed interior reflects and refracts space and light infinitely, further upsetting an understanding of physical space, and when drinks are added to the mix, you find yourself dangling in a hazy, dusky environment removed from the busy urban reality. You have thrown yourself from the alertness of day into the dreamy perception and autumnal hues of twilight. It embodies the blissed-out, leisurely, decline of the day.

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