Grand Etablissement Gschwandner / REAKTOR
Established 1836, the Grand Etablissement Gschwandner quickly grew into a large space for gastronomical delights and a diverse spectrum of entertainments. During its hayday at the turn of the century, the Grand Etablissement Gschwandner accommodated balls for up to 1,200 guests. As personal appartments became larger over time and new forms of leisure activities became popular, the Gschwandner’s star slowly faded into oblivion. The dark era of the World Wars hastened its decline. Finally the Etablissement closed its gates in 1960.
Since then its halls housed a radio factory, served as a storage space for props, and lately hosted a variety of cultural events. The year 2016 marks a new beginning for the house, as Bernhard Kammel, the new proprietor, re-set it for an art-space. Before the renovation works started, he captured the unique atmosphere of the Gschwandner in Elysium Hernalsiense.
After decades of closure, in the fall of 2017 the house will re-open its doors to the public as REAKTOR, a transdisciplinary exhibition and event space dedicated to all forms of art. As film will be an important aspect of REAKTOR, there will be a fully equiped movie theatre as well. Once the construction is completed, Elysium Hernalsiense will have its premiere in Vienna at the same space where most of its scenes were shot - a rare experience for the audience.
Many parallels can be drawn from the Gschwandner to the Prater. Its first official mention dates to the same era the Grand Etablissement Gschwandner was founded, and ever since it has been a point of attraction for all kinds of people in search of entertainment.
Looking back at such a long history a mixture of old ferris wheels and halls of mirrors next to bumper cars from the 1970s and state-of-the-art rollercoasters evolved. Nostalgia meets neon entertainment.
Being located in Vienna’s largest park area, some of the fun rides make excursions into the neighbouring meadow. A place where city and nature intertwine and Elysium Hernalsiense’s plot takes a tragic turn.