Restoring Grandeur With Food
Remember when you used to go to the bank to get money out, pay in a cheque or even to have a chat with the manager? If your branch was local then it was a small affair, but if you banked in the city centre, the chances are good that you entered the world of the grand banking hall, every time you conducted one of these financial transactions.
Most are now gone and new ways of using the space continue to be found. And for an example of what is happening, a trip to central Vienna’s Schottentor might be in order. Here a former banking hall has been painstakingly transformed (at a cost of around EUR 10m) into a food hall by local act Interspar and the outcome is a thing of beauty.
Whether it’s the mid-shop displays of fruit and veg or the many counters dotted around the perimeter, serving everything from fish to baked products, the acres of marble, metal-framed windows and Art Deco overhead lighting fixtures make this a shopping experience to be savoured.
Interspar has also put in a pretty good restaurant as part of the mix, but the real point, perhaps, about all of this is that with imagination and (a considerable amount of) money, some of the best buildings in our towns and cities can be made to shine anew.