Amber glass decorated Neo-Romanian style window

Neo-Romanian style window, mid-1920s house, Kiseleff area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a delicate and also impressive Neo-Romanian style window, where the main visual effect is given by the small rhomboidal amber coloured glass panes that define the casement at regular intervals. Other well designed elements are the double arch of the wall opening, the two Neo-Romanian columns flanking the window and the grape vine and leaf motif panels that decorate its apron. The whole assembly excellently suggests the romantic medieval ambiance, which is a feature of this architectural order, of the times of yore when these lands were part of the restless borderlands between the christian and worlds of the Middle Ages.

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Floral Art Nouveau style ceramic frieze

The photographs bellow detail an attractive and quite well preserved example of Art Nouveau frieze made up from high quality ceramic tiles that display a repetitive of what to me looks like a blue water lily motif (it could also be another flower species) adorning the street façade of one of The Small Theatre’s buildings in Bucharest. The overall style of the edifice is inspired from French c19th historicist styles (ie neo-baroque) that has seen better days before the crude renovations performed during of the last few decades of communism and post-comunism. The frieze is the most attractive decorative element of the building although is quite difficult to notice from the street level. The provenance of these tiles, looking at the typology of their Art Nouveau design, is, in my opinion, from an workshop located in the Austrian-Hungarian empire of that era, a neighbouring state of Romania with which it had close economic and cultural ties.

Floral Art Nouveau style ceramic frieze, "The Small Theatre" edifice, built in the early 1900, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Floral Art Nouveau style ceramic frieze, "The Small Theatre" edifice, built in the early 1900, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Floral Art Nouveau style ceramic frieze, "The Small Theatre" edifice, built in the early 1900, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

AFloral Art Nouveau style ceramic frieze, "The Small Theatre" edifice, built in the early 1900, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Deco “Junkers JU 52″ airplanes on the wall

The Romanian early c20th and inter-war aviation, both civil and the air forces, had great traditions and achievements in terms of airline companies connecting the country with the rest of Europe, manufacturing of excellent flying machines, both of domestic and under foreign licence design, and more than honourable results during the First and the Second World Wars. That is in sharp contrast with its pathetic state today after five decades of inefficient communist industrialisation and two decades of rapacious crony capitalism.

I was really enchanted to find the wall rendering, presented in the photographs bellow, of passenger airplanes from the Art Deco era of Bucharest. The panel is in an area of the city where the streets are named after famous pre-war and wartime pilots. It depicts aircraft with three front engines, a feature that was the hallmark of the German made “Junkers JU 52” airplane, an iconic machine that appeared in numerous visual arts representations from that period. The airplane was part of the fleet of the then Romanian airlines and very popular among the local public. I like the representation of these flying machines together with a flock of swallows, thus highlighting the quest of the modern industries of that era to reach the perfection of the nature. Also, at a closer look, one can see there quite subtle references to the Art Deco style’s rule of three in the three birds making up the swallow flock and also most interestingly in the three propeller engines of the JU 52 aircraft.

The nice impressions conveyed by this panel are unfortunately severely dampened by the home “improvements” made by the contemporary proprietors of this edifice, who drilled a hole through the panel just to make way for an unsightly air conditioning pipe or left old telephone cables hanging carelessly over the composition, all together  a telling expression of the terrible low level of culture and disregard for the city’s identity and heritage  displayed by a majority of Bucharest’s today inhabitants.

Art Deco airplane (Junkers-52) motif wall rendering, house from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco airplane (Junkers-52) motif wall rendering, house from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco airplane (Junkers-52) motif wall rendering, house from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

First signs of spring in Bucharest

First signs of spring 2011 in Bucharest: a freshly awaken butterfly sunning himself on the front stairs of the National Museum of History of Romania on 25 March '11 at 11.00 GMT (©Valentin Mandache)

After a long and boringly cold winter, the spring has again been late to arrive this year in Bucharest, at 45 degree North latitude in continental Europe. Today it might be that elusive turning point toward the spring as I have been thrilled to discover and photograph the exquisitely beautiful butterfly pictured above. The creature was sunning itself to gather strength in the bright light of what looks as the first proper spring day of the year in Bucharest. I hope that this encounter is a good omen for the rest of the year!

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Soon to be published… (via Jurnal de istoric)

From the royal historian Diana Mandache- a new book soon to be printed in Sweden and distributed in many West European countries and on the North American continent- it contains the correspondence between Marie Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, Duchess of Edinburgh and of  Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and her daughter Marie, the Crown Princess of Romania.

In curand... … noua mea carte ‘Dearest Missy’ per aspera… … Read More

via Jurnal de istoric

Rare Neo-Romanian style lamp hanger

Neo-Romanian style lamp hanger, house dating from the 1910s, Vasile Lascar area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian style street and exterior wall lamp artefacts are very rare occurrences within the build historic environment of Bucharest and Romania in general, in sharp contrast with the abundance of their Art Deco counterparts, a consequence of the fact that the Neo-Romanian style is essentially a historicist order that makes references to the romantic medieval past, where the light and its various uses have commonly a secondary place. The interesting lamp hanger presented in the photograph above is affixed at the centre of a window arch, which adorns a grand Neo-Romanian style house dating from the early 1910s. It was quite difficult to spot, high up from the street level, surrounded by other architectural embellishments that dwarfed it. The lamp hanger, used for hanging petrol or candle lanterns, dates from an era when the street lighting in Bucharest was done using mainly petrol lamps; the electric bulb shade attached to it, seen in the photograph, being a decades later addition. The ornamentation of this particular hanger is represented by the typical Neo-Romanian curly grape vine and leaves motif, with a flower at its centre, similar with countless of other decorative artefacts such as in the case of wall and balcony panels, which I documented in an article on this blog a few days earlier.

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Nouveau frieze with roses and fairies

Art Nouveau style frieze with two fairies among rose flowers and branches, early 1900s house, Rosetti Square area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The photograph above presents a rare for Bucharest Art Nouveau style frieze decorating a Fin de Siècle house from the central area of the city. It depicts two fairies, very popular mythical creatures in the children stories of the late Victorian era, making their way among densely packed rose flowers and branches. The overall impression is one of joy and ease, although the actual bad state of repair of the building and the utter neglect of its architectural decorations, by the proprietors and heritage authorities alike, dampen that feeling considerably.

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian flower pot panels

The photographs displayed bellow present a sample from among the great multitude of flamboyant decorative panels that embellish many of the Neo-Romanian style houses in Bucharest. The common denominator for this particular selection is the presence of a flower pot at the centre of the panel from which flowers and grapevine plants spring up. The symbolism associated with the flower pot is that of the origin of life, while the luxuriant flowers and the grapevines represent the Garden of Eden.

Neo-Romanian style floral panel, mid-1930s house, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style floral panel, late 1920s house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style floral panel, early 1920s house, Amzei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style floral panel, early 1930s house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style floral panel, late 1920s house, Popa Soare area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style floral panel, mid-1920s house, Patriarhiei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

“Southern European” type Art Deco house

There is not a general rule, but the Art Deco architecture in the countries from southern Europe has a higher propensity to adopt rich, densely packed ornamental themes when compared with places located on more northern latitutudes. It reminds of the baroque and rococo styles that originated in this region, a fact which I found excellently documented in the blog Madrid Art Deco that presents examples from Spain’s capital. Bellow is a Bucharest Art Deco house example, which in my opinion displays that southern European propensity for high density ornamentation, in this case consisting of prominent chestnut leaves and nuts splashed on panels decorating its frieze, bay window, veranda and top balcony. I encountered this motif in many other examples of Bucharest buildings from that era, some of them in the Neo-Romanian architectural style. Even this house has a small Neo-Romanian element in that of wooden poles from the top floor veranda, which are carved with Romanian ethnographic motifs.

"Southern European" Art Deco house dating from the early 1930s, Piata Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Chestnut leaves and nuts motif panel, "Southern European" Art Deco house dating from the early 1930s, Piata Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

"Southern European" Art Deco house dating from the early 1930s, Piata Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Chestnut leaves and nuts motif panel, "Southern European" Art Deco house dating from the early 1930s, Piata Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian style wrought iron gate

This is an elaborate and exquisite wrought iron Neo-Romanian style gate dating from the late 1920s. It was quite difficult to bring out its intricate details due to the bright sunlight conditions and the abundant bush branches behind it that mimicked in colour the rust hues of the gate. I therefore resorted, in order to make those details more obvious, to a series of filters, results of which can be seen in the two images bellow. The first one is a black and white soft focus applied on saturated colours, while the second one is an inverse colour filter applied on an equalised spectrum image. I thus hope that those process would better convey the beauty and personality of this Neo-Romanian style architectural artefact.

Neo-Romanian style wrought iron gate, house dating from the late 1920s, Kisseleff area, Bucharest - black and white soft focus applied on saturated colours photograph (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style wrought iron gate, house dating from the late 1920s, Kisseleff area, Bucharest - inverse colour filter applied on equalised spectrum photograph (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian motif expressed in an Art Deco setting

One of the most frequent Neo-Romanian decorative motif is that of the peacocks in the Garden of Eden, often represented in a Byzantine visual arts manner as a pair of such majestic birds surrounded by luxurious flowering and fruit bearing plants. The circular panel presented in the images bellow shows this motif in a less familiar, but nevertheless enthralling, Art Deco scheme, where one can recognise the delineative Art Deco design of the two birds (male and female peafowl) encompassed within a quite standard Art Deco floral theme. The panel dates from forth decade of the c20th, a period of intense interferences between the two styles that characterised the architectural scene of Romania that resulted in a fascinating hybrid style, examples of which are still surviving throughout the contemporary city. The second image bellow presents the photograph of the panel processed through a copper gradient filter, which outlines some design features harder to distinguish in the normal colour photograph.

Neo-Romainan motif expressed in an Art Deco setting, mid 1930s house, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Copper gradient filter processed photograph: Neo-Romainan motif expressed in an Art Deco setting, mid 1930s house, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Semicircular Neo-Romanian style window

Semicircle shape Neo-Romanian style window, house dating from early the 1930s, Piata Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The semicircular window is a relatively frequent design element of the Neo-Romanian style houses, decorating usually the street side wall of the the living room. Its shape reminds of the origins of this style in the European Art Nouveau current that started to unfold in the last decade of the c19th, when national-romantic styles, such as the Neo-Romanian, were developed in many of the newly independent or emerging states across the continent. The semicircle shape and the two main mullions also indicate that the initial source of inspiration for this design is the Diocletian or thermal type window, first used in ancient Rome for the baths built by that emperor.

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Deco – Modernist street corner house

Art Deco - Modernist street corner house dating from the late 1930s, Foisorul de Foc area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a good example of a optimally used limited plot of land situated on a street corner in a high population density area of inter-war Bucharest. The design of this Art Deco – Modernist apartment house manages to be airy and also well proportioned in this generally adverse urban set up. This is another proof of the talent and experience of the architects of that era, skills that have sadly been lost in large proportion in the last seven decades of communism and post-communist transition in Romania. I like the flag pole that also acts as an ornament for the top porthole window, the whole assembly giving an impression of an ocean liner steaming metaphorically its way through the immensity of the lower Danube prairie where Bucharest is located.

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Burned down Art Nouveau style building

This once charming Art Nouveau building, dating from the end of the 1890s, has been ruined in a fire, during the property boom of the late 2000s in Bucharest. It is located in Lipscani, the old commercial quarter of Bucharest, an area that for a decade and a half after the fall of communism was left derelict by the city authorities, despite its obvious huge tourist  potential. During the last property boom, many historic buildings in the area were targeted by rapacious property developers for the valuable land plots  which they occupy. A favourite method of destruction, in order to obtain the much coveted demolition permit for historic buildings, was the arson, usually blamed on squatters who sometime occupied those properties. Lipscani has  started in the last two years to experience a sort of a renaissance as a place full of cafes and restaurants and it is just hopped that such an entrepreneur would revive or least save the beautiful Art Nouveau façade of this building. Bellow are recent photographs containing details of these rare for Bucharest type of ornaments.

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.