In 1926 van Doesburg, with artists Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber, obtained the commission to refurbish the interior of a mid-eighteenth-century building to create Café Aubette—large restaurant with a cinema and dancehalls. A painter as well as an architect, van Doesburg used this project to explore his theory of Elementarism, which built upon the concepts of Neoplasticism developed by the de Stijl movement of Dutch abstract artists. In addition to flat planes and rectilinear configurations, Elementarism employed inclined planes and relief to activate compositions. Van Doesburg's schemes for the interior walls of Café Aubette were based on a grid of predominantly gray planes, with vibrant panels in primary colors. Plaster was used to form a relief pattern between panels. Merging architecture and design with painting, van Doesburg also designed ashtrays for Café Aubette, and even the lettering used for the neon-lit facade and other signs.
Gallery label from 75 Years of Architecture at MoMA, 2007