When the tiny Czech village of Chodovice (population 505) purchased St. Bartholomew’s Church from the Vatican in 2000, it was empty and crumbling, a medieval relic. Resolving to turn the 800-year-old building into a cultural center– cum–place of worship, the town council hired the Czech design firm Qubus, giving it carte blanche. "We stripped old paint off the walls and left them as they were to create a timeline of the space dating back to the Middle Ages," says Jakub Berdych, Qubus’s chief designer. "Next to Renaissance-era plastering you can see classical floral patterns." After six years of structural work, Berdych added Verner Panton chairs, Persian carpets, and two crystal chandeliers to complete the interior. "In addition to holding Mass, the church now hosts orchestras, chamber music concerts, and small art installations, creating a new ecumenical space," he says.