Daily Picture 5-Feb-10: The Art Deco Round Window Motif

Bucharest 1930s building façades displaying the round window motif of the ocean cruise liner, typical of the Art Deco style. (©Valentin Mandache)

I took the photographs forming the collage above during the course of last year and almost all of the beautiful Art Deco houses depicted there are just falling apart due to lack of maintenance or botched renovations by ignorant owners. The buildings constitute extraordinary witnesses of the 1920s and ’30s jazz era when Bucharest grew prosperous and culturally sophisticated from the proceeds of country’s oil exports. The city is located in the middle of the lower Danube prairie (the Wallachian plain) at a long distance from sea ports or exotic warm climates. The longing of the locals for such places must have been very intense and was appropriately translated in Art Deco architecture, where the ocean cruise liner motifs (the round windows of a boat, flag posts, glazed surfaces) were prominent together with large decorative panels depicting luxuriant jungle vegetation or sunburst motifs. The round window motif collage which I put together here is just a small sample of the exuberance of such decorations embellishing Bucharest’s Art Deco buildings, sadly now neglected and victims of the ignorance of the contemporary inhabitants or eyed by unscrupulous property developers because of their central location.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.