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.
- Café and restaurant in one
- Perhaps the “greenest” café you’ll come across in Vienna
- Traditional fare and vegetarian alternatives
- Unusual interior design and architecture in the Hundertwasser tradition
- Be sure to use the toilets (seriously)
- See also:
(View from the rear entrance)
It’s hard to pass by the Kunst Haus Wien without stopping to gawp. The building looks as if Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed it, with its mosaic of shapes, colours, curves, columns, and vegetation.
Actually, Hundertwasser did design the building, which houses the Hundertwasser Museum, a photography exhibition, and a rather different kind of café and restaurant: the Café Kunst Haus Wien.
Think of this café as the rebellious teenager of the Viennese coffee house family.
The floor, for example, consists of a mosaic of black and white tiles interspersed with dots of colours, and it rises and falls 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 to enjoy the tumble of colours, spirals (and trees) of the museum building around you.
On the menu front, Café Kunst Haus Wien was not quite as abstractly creative as the décor (how could it be?) on my visit.
The location offered a traditional Austrian selection with a decent pinch of vegetarianism added for good measure. So you had 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. Instead, it twists and turns and leads you off into other directions.
The Café Kunst Haus Wien certainly represents 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 surrounding Kunst Haus Wien. The Hundertwasser museum inside showcases dozens of the artist’s creations. And the special photography exhibitions feature national and international stars of the medium, such as Susan Meiselas or Alec Soth.
How to get to the Café Kunst Haus Wien
See the article on the Hundertwasser Museum for directions and travel tips. The café resides on the ground floor. Since the museum and photo exhibition are upstairs, you can go through into the café without having to buy a ticket for either.
Alternatively, simply reach the café from around the back, where Dampfschiffstraße meets Weißgerberlände. The Donaukanal river channel drifts past here, so the café makes a nice stop during a riverside walk.
Address: Weißbergerlände 14, 1030 Vienna | Website