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Queen of the Suburbs a cafe ruler in Krakow

11 of January '21

Krakow has the distinction that nostalgia often blows here and time passes unhurriedly. Often there are references to the iconic period of Young Poland and the interwar period and the times of the avant-garde. And this kind of inspiration was used by Wojtek Nowak of NOWW Studio in the interior design of Królowa Przedmieść, a small but very classy café and cocktail bar in Old Debniki.

The Krakow district, like several others in the city, gives the impression at times of going back to the past. And in a good way, because style, like drinking coffee or fine wine, are timeless. We will taste these three things at Queen of the Suburbs, whose name refers to a vaudeville play written by Konstantin Krumlovsky, first performed in 1898 at the Pod Słońcem theater, located in Krakow Park. The piece brought the author enormous fame, including abroad, and no subsequent play of his has resonated as widely. In Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, a cynical chronicler of the Young Poland period, we read: "Art became fashionable, everyone went to see it. It became a veritable shortsword, as it was then called."

Widok na bar Królowej Przedmieść w Krakowie

A view of the Królowa Przedmieście bar in Krakow.

© Wojtek Nowak NOWW Studio

Fragment baru i okno Królowej Przedmieść w Krakowie

A fragment of the bar and a window of Królowa Przedmieście in Krakow.

© Wojtek Nowak NOWW Studio

Young Poland inspirations conquered by Bauhaus

Wojtek Nowak alluded to this Young Poland atmosphere and energy, as well as the typical Krakow café lifestyle, which had not waned over the decades, when designing the interior of Królowa Przedmieście. The inspiration here was the decadent interiors of the Young Poland period combined with elements of Bauhaus, and the whole is maintained in the spirit of artistic bohemia. Queen of the Suburbs aspires to be the undivided cafe ruler of the neighborhood, but at the same time remains an intimate and unobtrusive place.

Wnętrze Królowej Przedmieść w Krakowie

Interior of Królowa Przedmieście in Krakow

© Wojtek Nowak NOWW Studio

Widok na bar Królowej Przedmieść w Krakowie

A view of the Królowa Przedmieście bar in Krakow

© Wojtek Nowak NOWW Studio

Drewniane lamperie i lampy Królowej Przedmieść w Krakowie

Wooden trim and lamps of Królowa Przedmieście in Krakow, Poland.

© Wojtek Nowak NOWW Studio

minimalism with a retro flair

Work on the interior began with clearing the space of unnecessary elements accumulated here in previous years, such as the ceramic tiles of the previous cafe and partition walls. In the course of this work, an excellent discovery was the post-war terrazzo found on the floor, which gives the interior an authentic retro feel. We also find minimalist, geometric forms in white and black colors, and chrome elements juxtaposed with large planes of European walnut veneered wooden trim. This creates a sophisticated composition of cold and warm colors. The latter are conquered by lamps in art deco aesthetics, which are made of thick glass, complemented by metal elements, illuminating the interior with soft atmospheric light. The bar, on the other hand, was designed in the characteristic Bauhaus "griddle," with chrome bar chairs standing right next to it. As for the details, it's impossible not to notice the cream coffee maker by the Florentine brand La Marzocco with chrome elements, or the very fashionable compositions of dried grasses standing here and there, or the yucca by the bar. In front of the establishment, meanwhile, is a pleasant garden, which perfectly extends its interior.

Detale w Królowej Przedmieść w Krakowie

Details in Królowa Przedmieście Street in Kraków, Poland

© Wojtek Nowak NOWW Studio

Widok z zewnątrz na Królową Przedmieść w Krakowie

Exterior view of Królowa Przedmieście in Krakow

© Wojtek Nowak NOWW Studio

reverberations of the past in a new edition

Królowa Przedmieście is a must-visit place, and it will certainly be one of my first post-pandemic cafe destinations. In a subtle, unadorned way, you can feel the spirit of one of the greatest, or at least most iconic, periods in Krakow's history here. And staying in that spirit, I will once again refer to Krumlovsky 's vaudeville Queen of the Suburbs , this time quoting a statement by Adolf Nowaczynski:

The newcomer burst into tears. He found the play to be a masterpiece, profound, preternaturally abyssal and so Slavic to you, pre-Slavic, high strung.... That wicked Strindberg never wrote you brother something better.... Mr. Krumlovsky is unworthy to untie the thong of his shoelaces.

And perhaps these old echoes and reverberations of the past in a new edition can be found in Nowak's Queen of Suburbia.

Katarzyna Oczkowska

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