Vienna is full of coffee houses that respect the tradition of marble tabletops, pristine chandeliers, and formal sofas. The café in the Kunst Haus Wien museum is not one of them. And you’ll be glad of it.
- Café and restaurant in one
- Perhaps the “greenest” café you’ll come across in Vienna
- Traditional fare and vegetarian alternatives
- Be sure to use the toilets
- See also: Hundertwasser guide| Recommended coffee houses
It’s hard to pass by the Kunst Haus Wien without stopping to gawp. The building looks as if Friedenreich Hundertwasser designed it, with its multiple shapes, colours, columns and vegetation.
Actually, Hundertwasser did design the building, which houses the Hundertwasser Museum, a photography exhibition, and a different kind of café and restaurant: the Cafe Kunst Haus Wien.
Think of the café as the black sheep of the Viennese coffee house family. The floor, for example, is a mosaic of black and white tiles interspersed with dots of colours and rising and falling unevenly.
The whole interior reflects Hundertwasser’s design philosophy with its rejection of conformity and straight lines.
At first sight, for example, the chairs seem rather standard bentwood designs, until you realise that no one chair is similar to the next. The tables take slightly different shapes, with colourful Hundertwasser surfaces thrown in among the wooden tops. Plants hang from the walls and ceiling, often climbing along the roofspace.
All-in-all, it feels like a rediscovered plant conservatory, converted into a café and bent slightly out of shape by forces unknown.
Nor does the design approach stop there – be sure to use the toilets for an extended Hundertwasser experience.
And in warmer months, sit in the outside courtyard among a morass of wild vines and other plants, and enjoy the tumbled colours, curves, spirals (and trees) of the museum building around you.
On the menu front, Café Kunst Haus Wien is not quite as abstractly creative as the decor (how could it be?), with a traditional Austrian selection and a decent pinch of vegetarianism added for good measure. So there was Tafelspitz, Schnitzel and goulash, but also sweet potato curry and lentil soup. Frankfurters, but also falafel. Something for everyone, then.
Given the above, this is not a coffee house in the traditional sense of the word. Time does not slow down quite so much here.
But the Cafe Kunst Haus Wien offers another arrow in your quiver of gastronomic options, a colourful alternative to the pristine formality or rigid traditionalism of some of the city centre classics.
And, frankly, it’s just a nice way to finish off a visit to the wonderful Hundertwasser museum.
How to get to the Cafe Kunst Haus Wien
See the article on the Hundertwasser Museum for directions and travel tips.
Address: Weißbergerlände 14, 1030 Vienna | Website
At the time of writing (January, 2020), open daily from 10am to 7pm.