The restoration works in one of the Czech Republic’s most famous buildings, the parish hall (or Municipal House) in Prague, was a highly demanding project for tile manufacturer Rako, with the defective tiles for the floor and wall areas of the American bar, the Pilsen restaurant and the vestibule needing to be replaced with replicas. A real challenge for the manufacturer!
Straight and curved corner tiles in the format 14,8 x 14,8cm for the rooms of the Pilsen restaurant, for example, had to be handmade. Strength, proportions and glazing of several elements comply with the present patterns.
Shiny glazes for the dark blue, light blue and green/blue tiled surfaces were newly developed for this purpose, and the tile manufacturer also produced shiny black glazes for the quite noble rooms of the American bar, where single elements of the ceramic wall design also had to be renewed.
The walls of the spacious vestibule in front of the Pilsen restaurant and the American bar received replicas of straight and curved black tiles in 14,8 x 14,8cm format, and the floor and its undulating relief tiles created special highlights in red brown, white and with plain-coloured borders.
Here again, single ceramics had to be produced and replaced manually. Because of the small number of the required pieces Rako had those tiles produced in plaster moulds. The different shades of the surface were made using the technique of supplementary injections, to ensure they were as precise as possible.
After the burnout of the tiles, relief patterns were carved out by sandblasting. A water jet cut every single tile to the exact measurements after that, and finally the relief got a manual glaze and had to be fired once more.
For the covering of the walls along the staircase on the ground floor Rako produced 10x10cm ceramic relief elements, which were also provided from purpose-made plaster moulds, so that the ceramic mass could retain its subsequent structure.
Two different sets of reliefs got a semi-matt glaze at first. Then after the burnout, every second set had to be embellished with different shades of gold before another firing could finish off the production of the replicas.
Altogether, Rako produced 180 tile replicas for walls and floors, all sensitively handcrafted and of the highest quality, during the renovation of Prague’s parish hall – because, after all, it is hoped this historical site will keep its glory and uniqueness for another 100 years or more.
Between 1906 and 1912 Prague’s parish hall was built on the ground of the former royal court. Designed according to the concept of Antonin Balsanek and Osvald Polivka, it is still considered to be one of Prague’s most important examples of art nouveau, and particularly secessionist, architecture.
Several rooms and halls of the spacious building are magnificently furnished in a variety of ways. Concert halls (the famous Smetana-hall is the ‘living room’ of the Prague Symphony Orchestra), restaurants, bars and cafés provide cultural and culinary delights.
For further information: www.rako.eu