Caffé L’Aubette is an interior design project created by Dutch artist Théo Van Desbourg. Placed in a 18th century Baroque military building in Strasburg, it was part of greater reconstruction project which started in mid 20s of the last century. Reconstruction included designing of the café, tea room, two bars, billiard rooms and two banquet halls. They were fashioned in different geometric aesthetics by Théo and two more artists, Sophie Taeuber and her husband Hans Arp.
Desbourg’s project at Caffé L’Aubette was inspired by the De Stijl movement, as he was one of its founders along with Piet Mondrian. The Netherlands-based artistic movement Neo-plasticism gathered painters, architects, sculptors and decorative artists who shared a view that art should be expressed in a universal visual language, which they found in juxtaposing horizontal and vertical lines, creating geometrical forms. Two dimensional squarish geometric shapes in black, white and primary colours were used as the abstract language of this movement.
However, Deosbourg wanted to implement expressiveness in this project and to create a more dynamic space. Although restricted with financial limitations, Théo van Desbourg came through with what he intended by using aluminum, mirrors, glossy nickel and painted panels. He also managed to create visual tension of a Ciné-dancing hall by applying his own theory of Elementarism. On one hand, walls were covered with grids of brightly coloured rectangles tilted at a 45-degree angle to the ground and mirrors reflecting it. On the other, orientation of windows, doors and furniture was commonly placed at 90-degree angle.
His intention to consolidate more than one art, such as painting, architecture, audio-visual art, music and kinetic art, into one space was realized. He made Gesamtkunstverk out of Ciné-dancing hall. Although, we might guess that the opening of Caffé L’Aubette wasn’t according to his taste. It was opened on February 17th, 1928. in a nationalist atmosphere. Film of the French Army’s entry into Strasbourg after the defeat of the German empire in World War I was played echoing French Army March – Sambre et Meuse.