Ceremony house – Zichy Palace


Category: Ceremony houses

Monument restoration: Anna Tomašáková, Oľga Janáková
Interior design: Prof. Rastislav Janák, Oľga Janáková
Works of art: Viera Žilinčanová, Askold Žačko
Location: Ventúrska 9, Bratislava
Designed and built in years: 1980–1989

Hlavnými výrazovými dominantami obradnej siene sú kompaktné hmoty sedadiel a výrazovo jedinečné svetelné inštalácie

According to available sources of literature and other sources, the origins of the palace date back to the last third of 18th century, the 1770–1780 period. The palace was built for count František Zichy by Fellner, a renowned builder in Bratislava. The designed interior modifications were preceded by a project of monument restoration realized in the spirits of the second, classicist development stage of the building. [1] The idea of establishing a ceremony house was, in addition to inevitable revitalisation, closely associated with the efforts to create interiors offering a user-friendly and visually attractive venue for holding civil ceremonies, festive events, concerts and other cultural and community events. Its operation even remained undisturbed by the long time passed, allowing the ceremony hall, the music hall, the gallery, the clubroom, the restaurant, the cafe, and lodging and other spaces to be available to the public until today.

The authors’ signature is characterised by the blending of simplified high-tech features and postmodernism, manifested mainly in the fondness for symmetry, use of square raster, V-shaped details and geometric motives on the structural parts of the interior. One of the inherent features of the interior architecture is the rhythmical order of elements arranged in direct and curve lines and the presence of figured matted glass. A wide range of e artistic expressions is supplemented by unique expression of the receding plasticity of the linings on entry portals, radiator niches and edge parts of furniture.

The authors attributed specific significance to the design of lights. Custom-designed light objects in combination with decorated suspended ceilings seem to intentionally recreate the former grandiosity of the palace, accentuating the festivity or pomposity of the upcoming moment. Light installations are characterised by a rich presence of shaped solid glass in cut, bent, and drawn form – both translucent and mirror versions, and regular rhythmical repetition of identically shaped elements. The design of lighting sculptures is rivalled by atypical furniture, such as arch-composed seating in the ceremony hall and semi-armchairs made of wooden squared timbers located in the cloak room area. The ceremonial atmosphere of the interiors is emphasized by artistic artefacts in the form of paintings in the pre-halls and window and door wings made of matted glass designed with a fine artistic approach. 

The resulting visual effect of interiors is greatly affected by the choice of materials which Marianna Vrábelová comments on as follows: “The core materials used by architects include stained wood, stainless steel, tempered glass and aluminium. Carpets, patterned lampshades, atypical, suspended ceilings and wall panelling are also used. The materials in the ceremony hall are in the sepia colour palette, supported by warm lighting. Interesting is how the effect of combining glossy and matt materials and laminated tempered glass reflecting parts of the interior is used. An atypical element is the “portico” which, together with the flooring and the carpet, helps to achieve an optimum acoustic atmosphere. In the registry room, the club room and the cloak rooms, stained wood in greenish tone is used, which tone is dominating when set in contrast with the pale tones of other used materials including stainless steel. This interior is an exemplary example of a bold, yet sensitive blending of two different periods, an example of incorporating a new interior into a historical building. Also, it attests to the ability of adapting the older preserved and refurbished building to a fully-fledged use.” [3]

The interiors of the ceremony house are an example of an extraordinary non-ordinary approach of the creators to the interior design in an environment with specific limits. The interiors stand for a design-attractive and sensitive incorporation of the morphologically new elements into historical architecture, an artistic scene that still reminds us of the essentially creative features of the authors.

Used sources
  1. Dulla, Matúš: Ukončená obnova [Completed Restoration] / Ohrablo František – Korman, Slavomír: Pamiatková obnova a interiér – Zichyovský palác – Dom obradov. [Monument Restoration and Interior – Zichy Palace – Ceremony House]. In: Projekt 7/ 1991
  2. Zervan, Marián: Zichyho palác. Interiér. Postmoderna. [Zichy Palace. Interior. Postmodernism.] Website: Miesta mesta. Available at: http://cargocollective.com/MiestaMesta/Zichyho-palac-Interier-Postmoderna
  3. Vrábelová, Marianna: Zichyho palác, interiér. [Zichy Palace, Interior.] Seminar paper for the Public Interior Course, FAD STU Bratislava, Summer Term 2021–22
Photo documentation

Marianna Vrábelová
Dušan Kočlík