Mackintosh Chair Motif on Romanian Provincial Art Nouveau Doorway

Romanian 1900s provincial Art Nouveau doorway, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

Targoviste is the medieval capital of the principality of Wallachia, located some 80km north-west of Bucharest. The meaning of the town’s name in old Romanian language is that of  “market town”, a true reflection of its medieval and early modern economy, until the advent of the oil industry in the inter-war period that changed its character. The city, at the turn between the c19th and the c20th was a picturesque provincial town, very proud of its heritage and legacy as the former capital, somehow like Winchester in England, if I can draw that parallel. The Art Nouveau style has some echoes in the local architecture, elements of which being displayed by a number of houses in the city centre. The doorway above adorns the side entrance of one of those picturesque buildings. What struck me the most in this obvious provincial design was the suggestion there of a Mackintosh chair motif, namely the famous oval topped back of an Argyle chair designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh at the end of c19th. This doorway may date from the 1900s, most probably repaired a few times since then in various degrees of refinement, and it shows the possible diffusion of this motif in a near vernacular form to this quite remote corner of Europe. The doorway may also be a more recent creation in tone with the rest of the Art Nouveau elements embellishing that house. A proper dating of it can of course be confirmed only through archive research.

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I endeavor through this series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and 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 sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Deteriorating Bucharest Art Deco House

Art Deco style house, designed in the early 1930s by the architect Pandele Serbanescu (according to the name tablet affixed on the façade ), Stirbei Voda area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The house in the image above suffers an inexorable process of deterioration, very typical of Romania’s capital, due to two major factors: neglect from the authorities in charge with the architectural heritage and from the people inhabiting that building (see for example the big hole in the roof eave) and ignorance of the new class of apartment owners and property speculators that emerged during the last boom, who acquired period property and do not have much respect or understanding for historic architecture (see in this instance the white plastic frame double glazing installed on the second floor windows or the ugly air conditioning unit on the same floor façade).

***********************************************

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

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.