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A whirl by way of Vienna’s modernist period, 100 years on | Travel

Celebrating a century on the coronary heart of the modernist motion, the Austrian capital is placing on fairly a present

Austrian idyll: the north tower of St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.
Photograph: Alamy

If you want a push to go to Vienna, right here it’s: 2018 marks a century because the finish of town’s modernist period. To have fun the inventive output of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg and lots of others, Austria’s capital will host an enormous variety of exhibitions this 12 months.

Fin-de-siècle Viennese tradition was the envy of the liberal world. This 12 months is the 100th anniversary of the deaths of 4 of the motion’s main lights: painters Klimt and Schiele, architect Otto Wagner and graphic artist Koloman Moser – although there have been many others, too. Between 1890 and 1914 Austria was a beautiful melting pot of concepts. The metropolis was buoyed by the wealth of the Habsburg Empire – these guys beloved a baroque palace, there’s one on just about each road nook. Alongside them lived Jewish immigrants who had new cash and full civil rights. This equality meant that they might construct avant-garde homes, fee attention-grabbing artists and run salons the place progressive politicians and institution figures met and mingled with psychoanalysts, writers and painters.

Prost: the American Bar, designed by Adolf Loos in 1908.

Prost: the American Bar, designed by Adolf Loos in 1908. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

This distinctive interval deserves to be celebrated, so go and see the renovation of the artwork nouveau Secession Building – home to the modernist artists and the primary European exhibition house devoted to the motion. Head for the “Klimt Bridge” on the Kunst Historisches Museum – a viewing platform first made for the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s start which supplies the proper view of the artist’s 13-painting cycle adorning the museum’s arches and pillars. At the Leopold Museum there’ll be an incredible Egon Schiele present which incorporates his poems and writing alongside the work for the primary time. Mahler, Schoenberg, Wagner and lots of others will all be given their inventive due. The Museumsquartier – a intelligent improvement of baroque and trendy buildings located within the former Habsburg court docket stables – homes 9 of town’s main museums, so that you’d have to be extraordinarily lazy to not catch a few of these exhibits throughout a go to.

But town itself is the best exhibit. Walk the inside districts and also you’ll see the stark artwork nouveau structure of the Austrian Post Savings Bank, the fragile flowers adorning the tiled Majolica House on Linke Wienzeile, and the white and gilded domes and facades of the underground stations at Karlsplatz and Kettenbrückengasse, all monuments to Wagner’s ability. (If you go to the Majolica House, stroll by way of the Naschmarkt, a meals and flea market that’s been there because the 16th century. Don’t depart with out consuming a number of the native cheese or flicking by way of the vinyl.)

The Vienna Workshop was a commune of utilized artists established in 1903 who created modernist furnishings, jewelry and ceramics – and should you head to town’s outlets, you possibly can nonetheless discover a uncommon mixture of conventional craftwork and modernist treasures on sale. Lobmeyr is legendary for chandeliers, however ingesting glasses by Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos are bestsellers of their store on Kärntner strasse. Similarly, Wiener Silber Manufactur has Koloman Moser packing containers alongside up to date silverware of their boutique and designer Vally Wieselthier’s china is obtainable at Augarten’s chinaware retailer.

Finish your window procuring with a cocktail on the American Bar. The mirrored and tiled inside is the work of modernist architect Adolf Loos and it’s been the ingesting gap of selection for everybody from Jean Cocteau to Quentin Tarantino. You can nonetheless smoke inside right here and lots of different bars in Austria, although hurry – a ban is being mooted by Parliament.

To go the complete modernist, keep on the boutique Hotel Topazz. Murals in its rooms pay homage to the Vienna Workshop artists and the weird oval home windows throughout its facade play on a Koloman Moser design. It’s additionally cosy and the views from the rooftop bar it shares with sister institution Hotel Lamée, are one thing else.

Window on to Vienna: Hotel Topazz.

Window on to Vienna: Hotel Topazz. Photograph: Anna Blau

Oh, and should you’re having fun with the concept of artwork in on a regular basis metropolis life, then do head to Am Hof Square within the previous city. Olafur Eliasson is probably not a part of the modernist motion, however his gentle set up Yellow Fog drifts throughout the entrance of the Verbund-Gebäudes constructing right here every evening. It jogs my memory of director John Carpenter as a lot as anything however in a metropolis of statues and monuments, it’s an incredible change of tempo.

Luckily these modernists have been a wise bunch. They might have rethought artwork as we all know it, however they didn’t mess with custom when it got here to native meals. If you’re into faddy clear consuming, then you have to rethink your life on many ranges, however for now, let’s deal with the truth that you’ll find consuming in Vienna disturbing. This is a meaty, potatoey, buttery, offaly, cakey type of metropolis, and all the higher for it. If you genuinely care concerning the provenance and preparation of your meals, you’ll be glad right here. Most of the wine and beer is extraordinarily native – produced inside the metropolis partitions – the meat is natural and that is the one metropolis I’ve ever been to the place the waiter boasts concerning the purity of the faucet water as they put it on the desk. Fresh from the mountains, apparently.

Exhibitionist: the recently renovated Secession Building.

Exhibitionist: the not too long ago renovated Secession Building. Photograph: Christian Stemper/Peter Rigaud

There are many wonderful conventional eating places. I can’t advocate Lugeck, with its swimming-pool tiles and beer-glass chandeliers, extremely sufficient. The sausage, strudels and salads listed here are excellent. Petz im Gusshaus, the place the menu is created from what the chef finds within the native market every day, is nice for offal. No, actually. Especially the offal pasta. Keep your fingers crossed that there are some lungs within the market while you go to. Beuschel – calf lungs – is a standard Viennese dish.

But there are additionally good new takes on the old fashioned on this vibrant, ahead considering metropolis. The identify Meissl & Schadn is a Viennese restaurant legend, however their new premises, simply opened on the Hotel Grand Ferdinand, feeds trendy variations of the boiled beef and schnitzels of yore to stylish diners in polonecks who appear like graphic designers (and possibly are: this metropolis remains to be a hotbed of creativity). Or attempt Labstelle, which is cool however cosy and unpretentious, and has an incredible cocktail menu to pattern alongside their Austrian delicacies.

Vienna has gained the award of most habitable metropolis an incredible eight occasions now. And you actually ought to come and see why. This 12 months’s centenary provides a singular perception into its historical past however there’s a totally trendy metropolis to be found, too.

Way to go

Flights with My Austrian airline from £93 (austrian.com). Rooms at Hotel Topazz (hoteltopazz.com) from £139. For extra details about occasions to mark the centenary of Viennese modernism, go to wien.information


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