Happened today: Victor Horta

Victor Horta architect

Today is the anniversary of the birth in Ghent of Victor Horta (6 January 1861 – 8 September 1947), was a Belgian architect and designer, and one of the founders of the Art Nouveau movement, an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts, known in different languages by different names: Jugendstil in German, Stile Liberty in Italian, Modernisme in Catalan, etc.

Other characteristics of Art Nouveau were a sense of dynamism and movement, often given by asymmetry or “whiplash” curves, and the use of modern materials, particularly iron, glass, ceramics and later concrete, to create unusual forms and larger open spaces. At a very young age he went to Paris, where he became interested in Viollet-le-Duc’s advanced ideas on the use of new materials (especially iron).

The Tassel house (1892-93, Brussels, rue P.-E. Janson 6) made it immediately famous: considered the manifesto of art nouveau in architecture, the house presents, in addition to the admirable unity of structure and decoration and the careful research expressive materials, bold innovations especially in the articulation of the free plant. Horta used the technologies of glass and iron to create an interior filled with light and space. The house was built around an open central stairway.

The Horta Museum is located in the private house and studio of Victor Horta. Built between 1898 and 1901 at 23-25, rue Américaine in Saint-Gilles, Brussels, the two buildings are typical of Art Nouveau at its height. The interior decoration has largely been retained, the mosaics, stained glass, and wall decorations forming a harmonious and elegant whole, down to the last detail.

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