Café Bellaria has served as a meeting place for writers, card players and coffee connoisseurs from many different walks of life – art, culture, business and politics – since 1870.
This makes it the oldest continuously running coffee house in Vienna. The interior design firm BÜRO KLK has taken this light, airy space in its fin de siècle building on Bellariastrasse and renovated it with great care, giving the coffee house a modern feel without compromising any of its heritage. It now features a monolithic lava-stone counter and a striking, curved light sculpture, but it’s the iconic 209 and 214 bentwood chairs by Thonet in a rich coral red that really breathe new life into the space.
Centrally located in Vienna between the MuseumsQuartier, the Volkstheater and Ringstrasse, Café Bellaria has been a favourite haunt of coffee connoisseurs, gourmets and bon vivants since 1870. BÜRO KLK’s renovation of the historical building is in-keeping with the architecture of the area.
To preserve the long-standing coffee house’s authenticity and charm, the designers left the large arched windows and the five-metre-high dome in the foyer untouched. Their concept makes reference to the café’s urban surroundings in terms of form and substance: the natural-stone counter, for example, is a nod to the basalt cladding on the “mumok” modern art museum around the corner. A contemporary light installation winds its way along the stucco-decorated ceiling and leads to the spectacular dome.
The Thonet 214 (previously No. 14) bentwood chairs in a chic coral red, with Viennese canework seats, bring together classic coffee house tradition with the sensibility of present day. This model, which became famous as a chair in such settings, is a genuinely iconic piece and, to this day, is regarded as the most successful industrially manufactured product in the world. This is the chair that marked the beginning of modern furniture. With its clear, minimalist aesthetics, this classic piece has been used in the most diverse settings for over 160 years.
Today, the wood for the 214 is sourced from sustainably managed forests. Thanks to its exceptional quality and timeless aesthetics, it is also extremely long-lasting and easy to repair. The accompanying Thonet bentwood classic used in Café Bellaria’s new interior design, the elegant 209, is also stained in coral red and its refined yet organic shape lends a sculptural effect to the room. The seat of this comfortable armchair has been upholstered in a copper-coloured velvet and the same fabric has been applied to the upholstered benches positioned along the grey tiled walls.
The monolithic counter made of glazed lava stone, which takes centre stage in the dining area, is both decorative and functional, and is complemented by black bar stools from Thonet’s 118 H range. This contemporary design by Sebastian Herkner reflects the familiar shape of the archetypal Thonet bentwood chairs and can be used in a variety of restaurant settings thanks to its minimalist design and light, elegant shape. As a tribute to the history of the location, the seats of these bar stools also feature Viennese canework.