If you’re a fan of quirky things or curiosities, Grand Café Orient – a unique Cubist café – is for you. The buffet-bar has an entirely Cubist design concept, as have the mirrors, chandeliers, chairs, curtains, and door handles ... Basically, Cubism everywhere you look. Trying to find clean lines among the smallest details and taking in the delicate harmony of colours and patterns, in the comfort of a cosy, bright, intimate space full of elegance make for a very engaging exercise.
A visit to the café provides a wonderful opportunity to learn much more about Czech Cubism at the beginning of the 20th century. A specific feature of this artistic phenomenon is that it takes in painting and sculpture – and architecture and design: the movement encompassed everything from interior design and furniture to objects such as place mats. As an artistic movement, Cubism aimed at being an integral part of everyday life and to promote a new, highly sophisticated lifestyle. The style became an ideal for the Prague avant-garde, an ideal that became reality in 1912, when the Cubist Grand Café Orient Café opened. You’ll find the establishment on the first floor of the House of the Black Mother of God building, one of the most famous Cubist structures, designed by architect Josef Gočár. In the 1920s, however, the café fell out of fashion and closed, and should have fallen into oblivion. Fortunately, such a fate did not befall Grand Café Orient. The venue has been faithfully refurbished using period photographs and has quickly become a favourite spot for working breakfasts, a cosy hot chocolate with the family, or for meeting friends over an excellent cappuccino.
Before going upstairs to the first floor, do stop by the staircase and look up, where an ingeniously concealed architectural gem reveals itself. When you look down into the stairwell from the top, you’ll notice that the staircase takes the shape of a giant light bulb.Anaïs, Avantgarde Prague