Historical RAKO realizations

RAKO ceramic originals that have not lost their beauty.

The Municipal House (1912)

The Municipal House (Obecní dům) represents one of the most important Prague Art Nouveau structures, even if looked upon with embarrassment at his time. The authors of the project completed in November 1912 were architects professors Antonín Balšánek and Osvald Polívka. Its style was by some architects regarded as old fashioned, but in the space of almost a century this structure is already evaluated as a unique harmonious connection of the architectural and artistic styles of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. For the RAKO Czech brand the Municipal House premises act as a live “exhibition hall”, where we can still to this very day admire original ceramic facings and floor tiles manufactured in the RAKO ceramic plant.

The place in the Municipal House where we can come across RAKO ceramics is, for example, the main staircase to the basement. Ceramic wall facings are enhanced with decorate filler reliefs and views of old Prague following designs by E. Hlavín. Once in the basement, you’ll find that the lower foyer with a small fountain lined with ceramic facing and the original ceramic ornamental floor connects to the decorated staircase. In the middle of the hall opens the entrance to the American Bar the walls of which are covered in black ceramic facing and are decorated by rural life scenes. Also in the basement you’ll find the Plzeň Restaurant with three mosaic ceramic pictures by J. Obrovský titled “Czech Harvest”, “Boy Scout” and “Girl”. You can’t miss a wine shop with well-preserved original wooden facing including relief ceramic facings and mirrors on the opposite side of the hall. And last but not least you’ll also find historical ceramic originals on the first floor in the Božena Němcová Lounge, which boasts a fountain by O. Polívka in a niche with mosaic facing and the ceramic pylon is decorated with a small glazed statue of Božena Němcová.

The Municipal HouseThe Municipal HouseThe Municipal House

The Imperial Hotel (1914)

Not far from the Municipal House, the formerly famous Imperial Hotel opened its gates last year after many years. The unique style of the hotel, the most modern hotel in Prague at its time, originated in 1914 thanks to cooperation by the investor J. Kolář, who acceded to its construction after he had sold the Paris Hotel in New Town, and Emil Sommerschuh, Director of the princely Liechtenstein ceramics goods factory in Rakovník (later RAKO). A record that dates back to 1913 gives evidence that these two co-authors of a magnificent idea agreed on establishing a hotel decorated by permanent material, whereby they wanted “to pass on to future generations a work of art that would be insusceptible to time changes and in permanent colors”. Following this idea, the main part of the hotel originated, the coffee-house on the ground floor with original ceramic decorations. A Rakovník-based firebrick plant, whose mark can be found on one of the central reliefs, did the ceramic decoration in 1941 following designs by decorative art Professor Jan Beneš (pupil of J. Plečnik). The sculptures were created by sculpture Josef Drahoňovský and apart from the coffee-house they also decorate other premises. The entire décor made up of, amongst others, mosaic on the ceiling and relief ornaments on pillars makes us think of Egypt and the Orient. The same atmosphere also breathes from the spacious reliefs located in the entrance hall, the primary motif of which are figures of lions inspired by the art of Egypt and the Middle and Near East. The Rakovník-based ceramics factory billed the hotel owner a total of 70.000 CZK for the entire contract, that is a considerable amount at that time. In 2006 – 2007, LASSELSBERGER, the assignee of the then princely Liechtenstein ceramics goods factory in Rakovník (later RAKO), participated under the technical supervision of conservationists in the reconstruction of this unique ceramic interior in Central Europe. Reconstruction included the cleaning of the surfaces of ceramic facings, filling in missing ceramics and especially the demanding manufacture of replicas and new pointing.

The Imperial Hotel (1914)The Imperial Hotel (1914)The Imperial Hotel (1914)The Imperial Hotel (1914)The Imperial Hotel (1914)The Imperial Hotel (1914)

Bauer’s Villa

The public knows very little about a realization made out of RAKO ceramic facings originated more than 90 years ago in the so-called Bauer’s Villa in Libodřice near Kolín. The Rakovník ceramics factory furnished the bathrooms of a then highly modern Cubist villa, which is today open to the public as a unique gallery of Cubist design. RAKO took up its former work by creating five types of replicas of ceramic facings 14.7 x 14.7 cm in size. “Based on samples found in the Villa, we created, like the exact replicas, three types of smooth white tiles with one or two tilted edges and a newly developed glaze corresponding to the former original. Furthermore, we manufactured a replica of the original relief tiles with a colored and gold décor. Hand-pressed relief bands decorated with a black and white glaze make up the fifth type of newly developed replicas” says the author of the work, Václav Vágner from the LASSELSBERGER Production Plant Development Department.

Before reconstruction

Bauer’s Villa (1914)Bauer’s Villa (1914)Bauer’s Villa (1914)

After reconstruction 2008

Bauer’s Villa (1914)Bauer’s Villa (1914)Bauer’s Villa (1914)

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