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The lost home of the Boulevard Theater

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The history of the building that houses the Kärtnerstrasse location of the Art & Style shop came as a surprise to this SV explorer, which is not a small thing at all considering that this explorer is already used to the fact that Vienna holds a secret behind every stone.

The surprise of Michael Klier who in 2008 rented an old disco cellar in Annagasse / Kärtnerstrasse to set up his business must also have been great: looking behind some walls and construction debris, he discovered what proved to be one of the most famous ballrooms and theater halls in Vienna.

Like any spot in Vienna’s first district, the history of this location resembles a multilayered cake. In the 17th century we find at this spot a Jesuit monastery and in the 18th century the “Normal School St. Anna”, which the famous Franz Schubert attended.

Today’s building dates from 1893/1895 and was designed by a duo of architects: Fellner and Helmer who specialized mainly in theater houses. They designed 48 theater buildings in Europe and most of them still survive today. Ultimately, the building was one of the most famous cabaret venues of the city and became home of the ‘Boulevard Theater´ in 1927.

After many decades of hosting artistic enterprises of all kinds, from balls to theatres to jazz concerts, the location went into a sort of ‘hibernation’. It was considered “lost” until Mr. Klier stepped, literally, on top of the long-forgotten orchestra pit, and rediscovered it. The location has been refurbished to its former architectural glory, even restoring the wallpaper, which was the work of designer and architect Otto Prutscher.

Now the building houses the shop Art & Style, which specializes in selling several sneaker brands. One should be thankful to the shop’s owner, Michael Klier who, working with the Federal Monuments Office, recognized the importance of bringing this lost gem back to life and put a lot of work and perseverance into the restauration process.

If you want to enjoy a tour and have even more information about the Art & Style shop and its past, join the “Tag des Denkmals 2018” on September 30, 2018. This event is a part of the European Heritage Days and is organized by the Austrian Federal Monuments Authority. The aim of the event is to make the public aware of the importance of the cultural heritage and to raise awareness about heritage protection and monument preservation. (Ra)