Viennese coffee has been a fixture in Austrian gastronomic culture for centuries. This tradition is still alive today. Café Schwarzenberg has been a popular meeting place since its opening in the 19th century.
Café Schwarzenberg History
In 1861 one of the most beautiful boulevards in Europe was built. This was also the time when a council building by Albrecht Zeppezauer (silk manufacturer and supplier of K&K to the court) was built, when the Hochleitners opened a café.
Café Schwarzenberg has had the same name since it was taken over by Josef Menschl in 1902. It used to be called Café Hochleitner and Café Sperrer, among other names. From 1939 until the end of the war, the name was briefly changed. During this time it was operated as Café Deutschland.
After 1945 Soviet army officers occupied the premises for their events; during one of them they destroyed the furniture with bullets.
A relic from this time was preserved until renovations in 1979: a mirror whose cracks and bullet holes were decorated with vines and floral motifs, necessitating a virtue.
In 1978 the owner of Café Schwarzenberg (Kom. Rat. Waltersam) intended to close it and sell the premises to a car dealer. Former culture councilor and later mayor Dr. Zilk managed to save Café Schwarzenberg from this fate. In 1979, the Café Schwarzenberg was completely renovated and modernized and in 1980 it was ceremoniously reopened by the new tenant.
Although Café Schwarzenberg was never a café of artists and literary figures, it had a famous regular customer who remained loyal for years: the architect Josef Hoffmann, founder of the Wiener Werkstätte, would be dropped off at lunchtime by his driver and eat, read newspapers or put his ideas on squared paper (Quatratel Hoffmann). Many of his extraordinary projects were created at Schwarzenberg.
Other famous people, such as the painter Hermann Nitsch or Burg's theater actress Adrienne Gessner and important figures from politics and industry, also visited the café.
Today Café Schwarzenberg is one of the last cafes on the Ringstraße, of which there were once more than 30, which continues the typical atmosphere and tradition of a Viennese café.
According to the Austrian Federal Office of Monuments, Café Schwarzenberg still features some important design elements that can be traced to the café's renovation during the interwar period. This applies in particular to the corner room to the left of the entrance and to the women's bathroom.
The walls of the corner room, almost square, have the original marble cladding; Two different types of marble were used. Light and heavily modified surfaces are bordered by almost homogeneous dark black stone. The ceiling is decorated with delicate mosaic paneling with colored frosted glass plates and gold plating. The square tables with hammered brass tops are also part of the original inventory.
The walls of the women's bathroom are lined with black marble and have mirrors integrated with white stone frames. Both the ceiling and the floors still have the coatings from the 1920s.
The decoration of both rooms is based on the effect produced by precious materials such as marble, mirrored glass and brass. The interior design is typical of the interwar period.
In Vienna, such interior design can ultimately be traced back to Adolf Loos, whose Café Capua at Johannesgasse 3, which he designed in 1913, is probably the most prominent example of its kind.
The interior design described above of the Café Schwarzenberg is therefore one of the latest examples of architectural design influenced by the work of Adolf Loos, characterized by high quality craftsmanship.