Posts Tagged ‘Odd Fellows’

Art of Design: Varna Restaurant

June 3, 2010


Varna Restaurant in 1971.

The Varna Restaurant, also called the Varna Palace or Varna Palæet, in Århus, Denmark. The original restaurant is a reknowned, eye-popping marvel of color theory and artistic design.

The restaurant was situated in a renovated palatial building, itself built in 1909, in the Marselisborg forest of Denmark. It was designed by modernist architect and artist Verner Panton, who is also known for designing the Spiegel publishing house in Hamburg, another famous piece of breathtaking psychedelic eye candy. Maybe I will spotlight that one soon, too.


The architectural commission at the Varna restaurant in Arhus was for the interior design. … Fabrics from Mira-X were used by Panton to focus on proportions and connections, and using colour and shapes gave each room its unique dynamics. (Vernor Panton’s official website)


In contrast to the primarily violet colour of the restaurant, Panton formed the Rotonde red. A central element in the so-called Red Hall were red foamed plastic balls which hung from the ceiling. (“Room design from Verner Panton” official blog.)


By their arrangement they seemed to move on to the column standing in the middle of the space. The Flowerpot lights placed in between were arranged also perfectly circular. Below rectangular plastic tables, equipped with the Panton Chair, in red as well, formed groups. (Ibid.)


Tuned on psychedelic effects of his creation Panton put unquestionably the crown of the ambience of the restaurant. Coloured foamed plastic balls, in between Spiral SP1 pendulum lights, violet-coloured columns, carpets and curtains with the Decor I in the variation of Circles, in addition chrome-coloured Pantonova Chairs from Fritz Hansen – the use of colours and forms was virtually inflationary.* (Ibid.)

The city of Århus eventually sold the restaurant to the men’s social club the Order of Odd Fellows. Today, it has been renovated and is available for rent as several banquet halls. If you visit the offical site of the present Varna Palace, you can see that, though they have made renovations to make the spaces more open and airy, and they went a little nuts with yellow (guess they were really sick of the red and purple and wanted to go the other way?) a strong influence of Panton’s original design remains.




*The English-langauge version’s translation from the Danish is a little rocky, but it’s a really informative and beautiful site.