Friday, February 27, 2009

Victor Horta House

In the Saint-Gilles neighborhood of Brussels you can find the house-turned-museum of the famous art-nouveau architect, Victor Horta. Not only did Mr. Horta have a noteworthy house, but he is credited with art- nouveau masterpieces all over the city of Brussels. He was one of the foremost creators of this architectual style.

What is art-nouveau? It is described by the museum as a way of designing that "creates harmony between architecture and interior design by devising its own ornamental language, which transforms the home into a work of art." Hmmm. My translation is that it is more rounded and curvy than the edges and corners found in traditional architecture. Think scrolling lines and a warm glow incorporating as much natural light as possible.

This afternoon Connor and I met Dallas to take in Horta's mansion museum. Knowing and understanding Mr. Horta seems an important step in becoming more of a local (culturally) in town. All of the Brussels buildings that make you stop and stare took influence from him. So now we are more "in the know" with the culturally astute crowd.

The museum was lovely and a good blend of abstract yet understandable. My favorite was all of the chandeliers and lights. Just look at this chandelier in the tiled dining room! The blown glass, colored flower bouquet was stunning. Connor thought so too!
Here is an example of the abundant stained glass skylights. Combined with the warm wood paneling and antiques, the mood inside was aglow. Connor took in all of the fabrics and light with enthusiasm. She was respectful in the museum and listened well. I was pleased. Especially given this was another, no strollers and no cameras kind of places. (These interior photos are of postcards I bought). Please just look at this shot...this is the Horta museum we walked with Connor. She loved skipping up and hopping down the steps. I can't imagine living in a home with so many floors. Or raising a child in a home with so many stairs!We were inspired as we circled the block on foot after our Horta Museum visit to look for some of the art-nouveau facades nearby. Not sure if these officially qualify, but they looked rounded and art-nouveau-ish to me! Plus the windows are fun and made me smile.

They did give us a maps of all the art nouveau styles nearby. Maybe I will do a more extensive walking tour of them when it is not raining!

If the sun ever comes back!

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