If quirkiness appeals to you, then this place is well worth a visit! The brainchild of Austrian born artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the Kunst Haus Wien in Vienna, is a small museum housing the world’s only permanent exhibition of his colourful work. The building was specifically designed to be in perfect harmony with nature.
Unfortunately photography is not allowed in the actual museum, but luckily it is permited in the rest of the building.
Formally a furniture factory, the museum is a creative concoction of bright bold colours, wavy, undulating floors, and a mass of uneven lines and curves thrown into the mix. True to Hundertwasser’s strong architectural morals and beliefs, whatever was taken from nature to create the space, was later replaced on the roofs. Nature definitely rules here; it’s entwined, living and breathing throughout the entire building!
Columns played an important role in Hundertwasser’s work. He believed columns should be akin to strong, beautiful trees evoking the feeling of safety and comfort when standing under them – hence the strong solid shapes, and bright, beautiful colours he used when forming them.
The uneven floors were designed to help ‘regain human dignity’. His philosophy being that flat floors were a danger to man because they were so alienated from man’s natural relationship with the earth. He also believed passages should provide man with warmth, beauty, and intimacy for all his senses.
The mosaics on the walls were all purposely laid in a delightfully quirky, irregular manner in order to avoid the dreaded ‘grid’ effect. Despite the apparent randomness of the design, harmony prevails throughout the building.
The bathrooms and toilets are another quirky element worthy of a mention. Note the cracked tiles in the photos below. Hundertwasser always liked to add a few shattered tiles to his bathroom designs, though naturally, the tiles were always reglazed for safety reasons before being used.
The cafe in Kunst Haus Wien is also a delight to visit. It’s a great place not only for what they serve, but just to be able to sit, absorb and enjoy the ambience and quirky nature of the space.
A few more photos of Kunst Haus Wien;
Other examples of Hundertwasser’s work around Vienna;
A municipally owned apartment block just half mile down the road from Kunst Haus Wien.
Hundertwasser also designed the District Heating Plant in Spittelau after it was destroyed by fire in the 1980’s.
Kunst Haus Wien is situated in the Landstrasse district of Vienna:
Address: Untere Weissgerberstraße 13, 1030 Vienna
Hours of opening: 10.00am – 6.00pm daily