05 Dec 2019 • Hospitality
Can referential hospitality interiors help keep local history accessible?
For a brand-new food-and-drink spot, Konvikt has a surprisingly rich backstory. Situated in a centuries-old Jesuit community building, the café has a prestigious 17th-century neighbour: Olomouc’s Corpus Christi Chapel. Designed by Prague-based creative Denisa Strmiskova and her studio, the space narrates a story of old and new, interpreting the mystique of the nearby landmark and its visual language.
One of the oldest and most visited sites in the Moravian city, the Jesuit chapel was built by Czech architect Jan Jakub Kniebandl and is a striking example of baroque architecture. After being restored and preserved, it became a concert, conference and event venue for the local Arts Centre of Palacký University in 2002. Denisa Strmiskova Studio's referential concept can, quite similarly, be seen as a means of keeping Olomouc's heritage widely accessible and approachable in the modern day.
To reference the divine, the studio studded the two-level space – a domed interior already blanketed in natural light – with luminous fixtures, including halo-shaped and pink neon pieces. The layout itself is a metaphor for a natural environment: the café’s bottom level is decorated in earthy tones, while the second is built to evoke the feeling of being in a treetop. And dark brown, wooden furniture calls to mind traditional church pews: bar stools and low stools were fabricated by a Czech manufacturer, but the majority of fittings were purchased in antique stores.
Alongside these elements, a fabric installation reminiscent of a fresco helps to represent the fundamental aesthetic elements of the Jesuits. Developed in collaboration with painter David Minařík, the textile work adorns the ceiling of the top floor.
A statue of the Virgin Mary, backlit by a soft pink glow, brings Konvikt Café’s overarching spatial metaphor full circle.