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public buildings

Weltausstellung 1873 (historic point)

Kaiserallee, 1020 Vienna, Austria

In 2023, not only is Lobmeyr’s 200th anniversary being celebrated, it is also the 150th anniversary of the 1873 Vienna World’s Fair, an event in which Lobmeyr was crucially involved. In part thanks to the activities of Ludwig Lobmeyr, who eventually became a member of the selection jury for the world expo, the choice was made for Vienna to host the second ever great show of nations. It took place in and around Vienna’s Prater park rotunda.
Lobmeyr placed several large orders with high-ranking designers in preparation for the show. Theophil Hansen designed a massive table centrepiece with matching drinkware. A ceremonial set by master builder of St. Stephen’s Cathedral Friedrich von Schmidt included a glass jug and a lidded goblet on an engraved glass plate, which was highly difficult to produce from a technical standpoint. Huge mirrors were also on display, which visitors can still admire at the Lobmeyr shop on Kärntnerstraße today, and Lobmeyr had the large gemstones of the imperial crown reproduced in glass for a replica; these adorned the top of the rotunda for the duration of the exhibition. A service for the imperial family based on a Renaissance model, jointly designed by Friedrich von Storck and Ludwig Lobmeyr, also received great fanfare.
At the opening, Lobmeyr presented its impressive stand in the large longitudinal gallery adjacent the rotunda—and was one of the few actually ready for the opening. The public and the media were full of praise for the glass art from Vienna. Just one of the things one could read about the imperial service in the Vienna World Exhibition newspaper on 29 July 1873: “Yes, it can be said that a more complete set of glassware has never been produced with such a great expenditure of artistic and material means.”

Fotocredits: ©MAK, ©Wien Museum

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