October flashbacks, as one fall in Brussels was unforgettable because was all about Art Nouveau. Inoubliable. And very Bruxelloise! Made many notes and photos so I don’t forget. Art Nouveau and Art Deco Biennale was a celebration of Architecture and design variety of buildings in Brussels.
Where to begin?
One could fashion a trip to Brussels, the capital of Art Nouveau, just for this event, that used to take place every 2 years in October. Nowadays is every year in the spring, and is the perfect opportunity to enter in buildings usually closed to the public, many designed by Belgian architect Victor Horta, an innovator and one of the founders of the Art Nouveau movement.
The long-established Brussels Biennial Art Nouveau & Art Deco Event (BANAD) was a Marathon for me.
On day 1, we started with a walking tour en français though the neighborhood of Schaerbeek, with Art Nouveau façades, Maison Autrique (first town house build by Victor Horta) until square Ambiorix. And I will never forget the first visit at Maison Cauchie in Etterbeek, with a remarkable façade, build by architect Paul Cauchie.
Next weekend, with one additional pass that I purchased in advance online, I could visit townhouses, buildings, galleries and one Art Deco office, with mandatory coffee stops in between:
- Hôtel Max Hallet Herenhuis, in Avenue Louise – was extraordinary, created by Horta
- Garage culturel – Les deux Paons, on Rue d’Albanie – with a bit of tango
- Maison Pelgrims Huis, on Rue de Parme, inspired by Andalusia
- Hôtel Wielemans Herenhuis, on Rue Defacqz, reminding me of Alhambra
- Hôtel Janssens Herenhuis, also on Rue Defacqz, the Art Deco office where must be extraordinary to go to work every day
- Hôtel Otlet Herenhuis, on Rue de Florence, not before a quick stop at Café de la Presse on Avenue Louise
- Hôtel Tassel, on Rue Emilie Jansen, was so beautiful, also created by Victor Horta.
Finalement, three important museum visits were included, Victor Horta Museum and House, Comics Museum or Centre Belge de bande dessinée, and MIM (Museum of Musical Instruments), all 3 designed in Art Nouveau.
Last day of that October, in a late afternoon. was with Art Deco and a more geometric architecture style in Flagey – not before a coffee stop at Garcia, a Portuguese cute café, that reminded me a lot of the beautiful and relaxed atmosphere from Lisbon.
I got to experience a lot in Brussels, but just as with the Flower Carpet, I will never forget this wonderful event and the effect it had on me, as well as what a tour guide told us at the end of one visit, that “Architecture makes us smile’.