Swinging symbol of freedom
The stylish ‘dancing’ building has an exceptional history. The lot was vacant for decades after being levelled by bombing in World War II. In the turbulent 1980s, the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić lived in the adjacent building. His neighbour was the dissident Václav Havel, who would become the leader of the Velvet Revolution and president of the Czech Republic. When Milunić told Havel of his plans to build a modern building on the lot, the latter immediately supported the idea – he hoped the building would become a cultural centre.
Havel found a Dutch bank willing to finance the construction, which, however, conditioned its support on another architect being brought in. The choice fell on the Canadian Frank Gehry, who started out in 1992 with Milunić’s drawings as his starting point and yielded the final plan in 1996. Not everyone was pleased with this asymmetric creation in the middle of Prague’s historical centre. Yet for many the building came to symbolise the embracement of freedom, democracy and a worldly modern architecture.
French specialties in a panoramic setting
To enjoy this extraordinary building to the max, start your evening in the luxurious cocktail bar of restaurant Céleste on the ground floor, where classic and modern drinks are conjured up in a jiffy. Then take the elevator to the top floor and choose a table, preferably at the window. While you enjoy French specialties such as lobster and pot-au-feu, you’ll have magnificent views of the castle, the Vltava River and the red roofs of the old district of Malá Strana. Naturally, you can also sip on a selection of excellent French wines and champagnes. In summer, an even more spectacular panorama of Prague unfolds from the open roof terrace.