I found another old architectural ironwork company plate, this one one the grand doorway of the Neo-Romanian style Marmorosch Blank Bank building in Lipscani area of Bucharest. The plate reads as “J. Haug, Str. Isvor, No. 8, Bucuresci”, the spelling indicating the writing fashions of the 1910s, which corresponds with the period when the building was erected. The metalwork is of highest quality and is easily restorable, although the edifice, one of the most magnificent Neo-Romanian style architectures still in existence, is now left derelict in the very centre of Romania’s capital, in danger of irreversible deterioration, a telling testimony of the lack of care and even awareness of the Romanian authorities and public about their diminishing architectural heritage.
The picturesque name plate of the best and largest ironwork manufacturer in Bucharest of La Belle Epoque period, adorning a shop roller shutter, which dates from the 1900s, Lipscani area. “F. Weigel” is also famous for its flamboyant gates, street fences, pear shaped balconies, balustrades and doorways.
The weather is still excessively wintry at the time when I write this post, with heavy snowfalls and blizzards affecting Bucharest and the surrounding region. I like to think that the following pictures of a flowery decorated glazed ironwork house entrance, which I photographed during a milder winter a couple of years ago, would cheer up the spirits The artefact dates from the La Belle Époque years, which in the British world correspond with the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. I like its agreeable proportions and quality of material and craftsmanship, facts that would make it a straight forward restoration job, if ever someone would undertake such a travail, a very rare occurrence in this part of the world. I wrote another article a few days ago about the wonderful Fin de Siècle architectural ironwork creations, as is the one presented here, which embellish Bucharest; link here. The entrance comprises two beautiful side lamps, the second one not being visible from the angle in which I made the photograph. The house exhibiting this entrance is a wagon type one, a standard in house architecture in the Bucharest of that time: the building is positioned on a narrow strip of land, with its small side bordering the street, while the main façade and the entrance face the courtyard, or what remains from the unoccupied land, giving it somehow the appearance of a “wagon”, hence the difficult angle of photographing this piece of ironwork from the street.
The Fin de Siècle period was a time when the architectural ironwork, expressed largely in wrought iron designs, became affordable as a construction material and architectural embellishing, adopted throughout the globalised world of the late Victorian era. The tone was given by the famous Eiffel Tower built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, which represented a climax for ironwork structures, traced back to the Crystal Palace pavilion of the 1851 Great Exhibition in London.
Bucharest was a rapidly developing city in those years before the Great War, with many buildings being erected in the then fashionable historicist styles, which I collectively call the “Little Paris” style, inspired mostly from French c19th architecture. Many of those buildings were embellished with exquisite wrought iron elements, from balconies, doorway assemblies, gates and street fences, conservatories, etc., which constitute now a definitory parameter of Bucharest’s historic built landscape.
I would like to present in the following photographs just a tiny part from the multitude of those architectural ironwork structures, dating in this instance mostly from the 1900s, found now throughout Romania’s capital. In my view they are quite well preserved when taking into account the upheavals experienced by the city in the last century since they were put in place and the general lack of maintenance of the last few decades. It is not hard to imagine how a basic restoration of these structures would notably increase the aesthetics of this metropolis and emphasise in a very positive way its identity; unfortunately there is still a long way for its post-communist inhabitants to learn and understand that.
The design of the Art Deco style doorway presented above suggests an interesting psychedelic pattern well before its emergence in the 1960s pop art. A number of 1930s Art Deco style buildings in Bucharest display such refined motifs and decorations, as I recorded in a post last year about an exquisite decorative wall panel. It is a witness and a measure of Bucharest’s intense creative scene of those years, considered the golden age for this city, still unmatched today, after more than seven decades of devastating communist and post-communist regimes.
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.