Art Deco doorway displaying “Apple’s design philosophy”

I photographed this beautiful Art Deco doorway during yesterday’s architectural walking tour in Dacia area of Bucharest. I like its pleasant to the eye proportions and reduced to essence decoration: the window has a simple reverberating diamond motif, pointed underneath by four small letter box openings that are also marked by label holders. These details are embraced by an ample handlebar, which bends horizontally in the lower half of the doorway, thus balancing the concentration of detail in the upper half. The excellent composition brings to my mind Apple computer company’s philosophical approach in designing its products, which is to be found “at the intersection of the technology and the humanities”, with the difference that the Bucharest example was designed about eight decades ago!

Art Deco style doorway, mid-1930s apartment house, Dacia area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

Art Deco doorhandle

The doorhandle and doorway that it embellishes, presented in the images bellow, were photographed during last Sunday’s architectural walking tour in Mantuleasa quarter of Bucharest. The whole assemble is still in good condition after probably about eight decades of continuous use now. I like how the flower motif decorating the upper end of the handle is repeated on the keyhole lid, or the  references to the Art Deco style’s rule of three seen in the bars and diamonds motif embellishing the lower end of the doorhandle.

Art Deco style doorhandle, mid-1930s house, Piata Rosetti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorhandle, mid-1930s house, Piata Rosetti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorway with original doorhandle, mid-1930s house, Piata Rosetti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern

Bellow is a fascinating cubist-like design embellishing a wrought iron gate structure, which I encountered in Cotroceni quarter of Bucharest and have also shown to the participants at my architectural history tour, which took place in June past. It is another testimonial of the effervescent creative years of Bucharest that span the inter-war period, considered as a golden age for this city. The gate is in a run down state and needs urgent caring attention, but I doubt that it would ever receive any attention from the contemporary Bucharest people, having in fact a much higher chance to reach the scrapyard and be replaced by a new and “beautiful”, in their uncouth eyes, production line gate from a DIY shop.

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Inversed colour filter: wrought iron gate with cubist pattern, Art Deco style house dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

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

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.

Art Deco style semi-detached houses in Ploiesti

I would like to present you another magnificent period building photographed during my trip last week to Ploiesti, the oil town 60km north of Bucharest. The previous house I wrote about was a La Belle Époque period Little Paris town mansion; that article can be read at this link. This one is a well designed mid-1930s Art Deco example of semi-detached houses, which has an extraordinary personality. The edifice is located on Independentei Street, not far from the city’s main train station. It had escaped, by a miracle in my opinion, the epic 1943 American Air Forces bomber attack that devastated the area, which although was aimed at the destruction of the oil refining industry from around Ploiesti, many stray bombs fell on the city itself. That operation against those oil fields that in the Second World War supplied the German war machine, is known in the military annals as Operation Tidal Wave, one the costliest actions in terms of pilot and aircraft losses of the US Air Forces in Europe.

Art Deco style semi-detached houses dating from the mid-1930s, Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

The main feature of the building is embodied by its monumental twin staircase towers around which a multitude of Art Deco design elements get unfurled, from extraordinarily attractive doorways, streamline-like balconies with eyebrow awnings, a well proportioned street fence or ample rooftop verandas.

One of the doorways embellishing the Art Deco style semi-detached houses dating from the mid-1930s, Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

The door displays sunbursts among motifs that look like clouds, while the doorway opening is decorated with a “fleshy” Art Deco floral motif, in the manner of the local Brancovan and Neo-Romanian styles, which reminds me of some of architect’s Toma T. Socolescu‘s designs. He was extremelly influential in Ploiesti and Prahova county during the inter-war period and there could be a possibility that he might be the designer of this building too.

The staircase towers: Art Deco style semi-detached houses dating from the mid-1930s, Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

The twin staircase towers are embellished with a ziggurat motif, very characteristic of the Art Deco style.

Art Deco style semi-detached houses dating from the mid-1930s, Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

The structure, through its wonderful proportions and high design qualities, stands out among the built landscape surrounding it. I hope that the current renovation works, which seem to take place, would bring something back from its former glory.

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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.

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

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.

Bucharest period doorways

Bellow are three examples of Bucharest doorways in styles that characterise most of the historic architecture of Romania’s capital. The first photograph immediately under the text is in what I call the Little Paris style, an architecture popular during the La Belle Époque era (corresponding with the late Victorian and Edwardian periods), which was inspired on the whole from the French c19th historicist styles very fashionable in Romania of that time. The second photograph presents a Neo-Romanian style doorway, a national-romantic architectural order peculiar to this country that reached its apogee in the 1920s, the decade following the Great War from which Romania emerged victorious with a heightened sense of national pride. The third image shows an Art Deco style doorway from the mid-1930s, a period when this international style became an architectural hallmark of Bucharest, which embellished the city with countless private and public edifices that still delight its contemporary visitors.

Little Paris style doorway, 1900s house, Magheru area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I like in the above example the pair of eye-holes piercing the main panels of each of the doors, used to identify the visitors of more than a century ago.

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

The main feature of this Neo-Romanian doorway is its ample awning inspired from that adorning entrances of late medieval Wallachian. The two jardiniers flanking the door are of great visual effect and are embellished with intricate Neo-Romanian motifs.

Art Deco style doorway, mid-1930s house, Mosilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a quite an elaborate Art Deco doorway assembly with an ample pediment and two beautiful jardinieres in the same style (a rarity for Bucharest) flanking the entrance on top of the access stair balustrades. I very much like the two wall lamps encastred into the pediment, embellished with stained glasses.

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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.

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

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.

Flamboyant Art Deco floral theme doorway

Flamboyant Art Deco floral theme doorway, early 1930s house, Gara de Nord area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

We are enjoying an excellent sunny April weather today in Bucharest and to be in tone with this beautiful atmosphere, I would like to share with you this delicious rich floral theme doorway from one of the Bucharest quarters around Gara de Nord (the Northern Train Station) developed in the inter-war period. It it to my knowledge one the most flamboyant such creations in the entire town!

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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.

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

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.

Art Deco pavement sign

Art Deco era pavement/ street sign, Ion Campineanu Street, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The photograph presents a stoically surviving street sign, indicating the offices of an inter-war company, carved in marble on the pavement, at the entrance of an Art Deco style apartment building in central Bucharest. I have been always impressed how this very visible sign, in the heart of the city, survived during the communist times, with their vicious ethos against the pre-war free enterprise culture.

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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.

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

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.

Bucharest’s Art Deco glass canopies

Bucharest during the prosperous mid- and late-1930s, when Romania benefited from its important oil exports, boasted a series of well designed Art Deco style hotels and prestige apartment blocks, which had their entrance embellished with impressive glass canopies. These were exquisitely illuminated during the night with multicoloured electric lights, which together with the neon adverts that were ubiquitous throughout the city centre of that era, gave the impression of a modern capital, confident in future. Sadly, all of those accomplishments and civic aplomb reflected in architecture and urban life, were destroyed and nearly erased by a devastating World War Two, a harsh communist dictatorship that lasted nearly half a century and two decades of disordered transition to a market economy. I managed to find, during my fieldwork in Bucharest, a few of the last surviving Art Deco doorway glass canopies, now ignored, in a dilapidated state, or in the process of being dismantled, which are still managing to convey a bit from the beautiful atmosphere that percolated the city life in the forth decade of the c20th in this corner of the Balkans.

The first image bellow is probably the best preserved example of Art Deco doorway glass canopy in Bucharest, which adorns the entrance of the former Hotel Stanoiu (named Negoiu during the communist times) designed by the architect Arghir Culina, now the offices of an insurance company.

Art Deco hotel doorway glass canopy, the former Hotel Stanoiu, designed by architect Arghir Culina in the mid-'20s, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The next photograph is an Art Deco doorway glass canopy that has been affixed during the 1930s to the entrance of a Fin de Siècle building (which was probably a hotel) from the Lipscani Street in the old commercial quarter of Bucharest. The close up detail of this canopy shows that even its glass panes were patterned with Art Deco motifs.

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Lipscani Street, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Close up detail of the Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Lipscani Street, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The two photographs bellow detail the glass doorway canopy of the former Hotel Dunarea, which now is left derelict, probably intended for demolition to make space for one of the usually corrupt Bucharest real estate development projects.

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Hotel Dunarea, built in the mid-1930s, Gara de Nord area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, Hotel Dunarea, built in the mid-1930s, Gara de Nord area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The last two photographs detail the remains of a doorway canopy that embellishes a prestige (in the 1930s, not nowadays) apartment block from central Bucharest. The entrance assembly is in a quite good state of preservation and can easily be restored, if of course there is will, expertise and finance available for such undertaking. Unfortunately all of these ingredients are missing in Bucharest and Romania of the second decade of the c21st and this building (and countless others like it), is slowly being defaced and barbarised by its own proprietors in misguided renovation works.

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, late 1930s apartment building, Brezoianu area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco doorway glass canopy, late 1930s apartment building, Brezoianu 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.

Delicate Art Deco wrought iron patterns doorway

Art Deco wrought iron style doorway displaying delicate lotus plant motifs, early 1930s, Natiunile Unite area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The delicately worked wrought iron doorway in the above image embellishes the entrance of a well designed early 1930s Art Deco style apartment house, where the main decorative theme is the lotus plant motif displayed in diverse prominent places on the building, such as the column capital that I documented here in an earlier post, inspired from the ancient Egyptian imagery popular among the architects of that era. The lotus plant motif is also present on this doorway in finely worked patterns at its centre and on the two vertical stripes that form the door edges.

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I endeavour 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.

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

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.

Mid-1930s Bucharest Art Deco doorways

Art Deco style doorway, mid-1930s block of flats, Opera area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The doorway above is designed around what it seems to be a flamboyant 1930s car radiator or power transformer theme, which is extremely evocative of the dynamism that characterised the inter-war machine era from which the Art Deco style draws a great deal of its inspiration.

Art Deco style doorway, mid-1930s apartment house, Regina Maria area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This example is tamer from the point of view of decorative motifs and design, being quite a “classical” looking Art Deco style doorway, of nice, harmonious proportions. Its most remarkable elements are, in my opinion, the two curved profile lateral lamps, which in the 1930s, in the days when the doorway came into existence, imprinted a conspicuous air of modernity to the whole building architecture.

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I endeavour 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.

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

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.

Old wooden Art Deco doorway and window

This is a bit of a non-standard Art Deco architectural detail: a narrow wooden doorway with an overextended window on top of it that provides light to the stair case behind it. I like how the rule of three typical of the Art Deco style just stares, in the case of this design, obviously into the observer’s face.

Art Deco style doorway, early 1930s house, north Cismigiu area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

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

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.

Art Deco doorways

Bellow is a selection of Art Deco style doorways from the 1930s Romania, a minuscule sample of the immense variety of Art Deco designs and shapes that embellish the urban landscape from this corner of Europe.

Art Deco style doorway dating from the mid-1930s, Icoanei area, Bucharest. The design contains two main motifs: sunbursts and ocean waves. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the late-1930s, Romana area, Bucharest; design inspired from industrial-modernist archetypes. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest. The door architrave/ wall opening is a Neo-Romanian style design, while the door itself is Art Deco. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the mid-1930s, Campina. The door architrave is an Art Deco design, while the door is a mix of Neo-Romanian and Little Paris style designs. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the early 1930s, Magheru area, Bucharest. The design resembles a flowery Art Deco type often encountered in Spain or Italy. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Deco style doorways, dating from the mid-1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest; classical motifs like columns and entablature within an Art Deco framework. (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

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

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.

Solar or stage reflector design for Art Deco doorway?

Abstract solar motif design Art Deco style doorway dating from the late 1930s, Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I have to say that I pondered a bit on the significance of the Art Deco motif incorporated in the design of the above apartment block doorway in Bucharest and came to the view that it represents either a well rendered solar motif or an abstraction of the lights of a stage/ cinema reflector, frequently represented in Art Deco creations. The high quality of the design is also enhanced by the finely worked wrought iron that has withstood the vicissitudes and lack of maintenance of the past decades in communist and post-communist Romania.

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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.

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

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.

Ocean waves Art Deco style doorway

Ocean waves Art Deco style doorway embellishing a mid-1930s house in the Cotroceni area of Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

November has started and the winter signs will slowly and irritatingly start contouring themselves on the horizon. I thought that an architectural image that would evoke a warmer climate, would help restore the equinoctial balance of the autumn season that we enjoyed in the last few weeks in Bucharest. The doorway presented in the photograph above contains such appropriate cheerful motifs in its attractive and harmonious ironwork design depicting the ocean waves and the setting and raising of the tropical Sun- motif enclosed in the three squares (the Art Deco “rule of three”) at the centre of the design. The choice of the yellow and light brown colour scheme decorating the doorway assembly also fits the southern seas theme of this interesting doorway composition from the Bucharest of eight decades ago.

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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.

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

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.

Minimalist Art Deco Style Doorway

A late 1930s Art Deco style doorway for an apartment block in the Mantuleasa area of Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The design is characterised by a minimalist modernist decoration of lines arranged in rectangular patterns, with just one ‘flamboyant’ element in the form of a stylised sunburst among clouds, placed at centre of the composition.

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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.

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

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.