Art Deco and Neo-Romanian style syncretism

The 1930s Bucharest architectural scene has been the witness of an interesting syncretism between the Art Deco and Neo-Romanian styles, with a number of beautiful buildings dotted around the city.

Mid-1930s Art Deco and Neo-Romanian style house, Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The apartment house in the photograph above is one of the better preserved examples of that unusual architectural syncretism from those intensely creative years. From afar the house looks like an Art Deco building with abundant ornamentation, but at a closer look, the Neo-Romanian details and motifs become apparent.

Mid-1930s Art Deco and Neo-Romanian style house, Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The tower depicted in the image above should have been a staircase tower in a “standard” Art Deco house, but in this case is a fortified tower personification typical of the cula yeoman house the from Oltenia region in south west Romania, from which the Neo-Romanian style draws a great deal of inspiration. The ornaments are joyous mixture of Art Deco (ie the upper window sills) and Neo-Romanian ones (the intricate grape vine ornaments, etc.)

Mid-1930s Art Deco and Neo-Romanian style house, Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The tower’s ground floor windows of the tower are of pure Neo-Romanian type, inspired from late medieval Wallachian church architecture.

Mid-1930s Art Deco and Neo-Romanian style house, Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The side of the house, where the drawing room is placed on the ground floor and the master bedroom above contains a large and elaborate Neo-Romanian style panel, where the Art Deco tinge of the design is clearly noticeable .

Mid-1930s Art Deco and Neo-Romanian style house, Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Even the garden fence contains echoes from both styles in its design that also reflects the contortions of a grape vine, seen also in the large wall panel described above. The spikes on top of the fence were an addition of the last two decades most probably, to deter the intruders.

Mid-1930s Art Deco and Neo-Romanian style house, Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the name of the house, “Vila Jeni” prominently displayed on the wall, who has probably been the wife of the first owner of the house, probably an attractive and temperamental inter-war beauty. I can see those features clearly reflected in the design of the house composed from a capricious play of volumes typical of the internationalist Art Deco style, embellished with flamboyant native Neo-Romanian ornamentation.

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I endeavor through this daily 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 Contact page of this weblog.

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