Art Deco pelicans

I had a nice surprise in one of the late afternoons of the last summer, when doing a rehearsal for one of my Bucharest historic architecture tours, to discover in a quiet cul-de-sac in the Calea Victoriei area of Bucharest a very quaint and well preserved Art Deco style house featuring prominently the pelican motif. The stylised pelican figures adorn the base of the square section columns that surround the house façade at regular intervals.

Art Deco pelicans, mid-1930s house, Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The house resembles somehow a reduced scale public building, in the manner of the inter-war monumental edifices with an Art Deco – Modernist architecture inspired from classical themes. In this case the pelicans and the columns are inspired, in my opinion, from Egyptian motifs, very much in tone with the Art Deco’s panoply of motifs. It may well be that the interesting black square ceramic tiles that form the column capital suggest the papyri or lotus plant of ancient Egyptian decorative arts, which wonderfully balance the pelican motif at its base.

Art Deco pelicans, mid-1930s house, Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The pelicans adorn each face of the column, creating an attractive play of repeating images, enlivening the building in its enitrety.

Art Deco pelicans, mid-1930s house, Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The pelican figure is stylised and angular, in the manner of “cubist” design popular of the 1920s and ’30s.

Art Deco pelicans, mid-1930s house, Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The square ceramic tiles forming the capital of the columns are in good harmony with the square section of the columns and the square chequered roof eave, creating a pleasing visual effect.

Art Deco pelicans, mid-1930s house, Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The Art Deco decoration of this house make also ample reference to the rule of three, also inspired from Egyptian mythology and so popular with this inter-war architectural style.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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.

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