Villa Müller, Prague

Back from Christmas in Prague (back ages ago, to be honest, but it’s taken me a while to re-enter the real world) and my only real diversion from the well-beaten tourist path was to Villa Müller, a house in the quiet, posh residential district of Stresovice. Given the house’s external appearance, it should come as no surprise that the Müllers were concrete magnates; they asked the Czech/Austrian Adolf Loos to design a house for them in 1928. The most impressive thing about the place is how Loos made it fit like a glove to its owners’ needs, something that is now the principal aim of residential architects, but amazingly wasn’t such a given at the time: from different approaches to clothes storage in the his’n’hers dressing rooms to the clever shrinking/expanding circular dining table, it is a very thoroughly thought out place, with special attention paid to the contrast between public and private spaces. Beyond that, it has some fabulous colour schemes (red radiators against bright turquoise tiles in the hallway, for example), a flowing series of mezzanines including a stunning marble-clad living space (with built-in double aquarium) and beautiful detail everywhere you look. The vast majority of the furniture is original to the house – the place was requisitioned by the government during Prague’s Communist years, when everything was placed in storage – and has only been opened to the public since 2000. The pre-booked tours are teeny-tiny (just six people) so if you visit, you will be one of a select band of people to experience the house.

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