Raw Material

Cosmopole is becoming something easy on the eyes.  But when we first found it on the market about a year ago it would never have been mistaken for a pleasant and welcoming place where a weary traveler would want to relax, refresh himself, sleep and dream sweet dreams.  It was six floors of utilitarian office space, its grand oak floors buried under four, and sometimes as many as seven layers of linoleum, carpet so thin and threadbare it could be overlayed with another go-round of linoleum, or other materials difficult to identify.  On the positive side it was big and had the most important quality of any real estate: location.   It was in the center of everything a visitor wants to see and do in Prague.  On the negative it had not just a tired interior but a façade that brought to mind the Brutalism of Le Corbusier.  I love that term, one of those telling slips that describes more than it intends.  It refers to the beton brut (raw concrete) he favored over decorative materials such as tile or sculpted detail and the like. No frivolity for him, by God.  Of course Spalena 3 was built centuries before Le Corbusier and his ilk existed.  But much later, in 1888, three floors were added on top of the existing three in an epoch when form was an afterthought and function the only factor of any importance.  And so, the home away from home we wanted Cosmopole to be would be in exactly the right location, but made from D grade office space behind an ugly face both cracked and filthy.  Am I exaggerating?  I submit to the jury the following photo I took a year ago.  The resolution is not so hot, but maybe you can get the idea.

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I’ll look for some photos of the original interior and show that to you next time.

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