At the Black Madonna (At the Golden Grille) - Celetná Street 34/569, Old Town
Celetná Street 34/569, Old Town
A department store in Cubism style according to a plan by J. Gočár was built in 1911-12 by Prague wholesaler F. J. Herbst in place of a demolished Baroque house At the Black Madonna. The new building took over the house sign from its predecessor – the Baroque statue of a black Madonna with a baby behind a golden grille – which Gočár managed to sensitively incorporate into the modern house (it is placed at the first floor level on the north-east corner; in 2000 the original of the statue was replaced by a carved polychromed copy, made at the Academy of Fine Arts). The building which is Prague’s first Cubism house ever was carefully designed with respect for the neighbouring historical buildings of the Old Town so it met with unusually positive response of the broad public and the experts and construction of more Cubism buildings in Prague was hence enabled. The interior was originally also in Cubism style, however it was restyled a number of times in the 20th century so it re-gained its original look after a general reconstruction in 1993-94 (K. Prager). In 1994-2000 the exposition of Czech Cubism of the Czech Museum of Fine Arts was located there. The Museum of Czech Cubism was reopened after a renovation in 2003. The coffee house Grand Café Orient on the first floor is definitely worth visiting as every detail has been restored according to the original Cubism look, using five preserved black and white photographs of the original interior.