I spent a few hours today editing a press release and reading about Art Nouveau / Jugendstil / Seccession styles.

Before I moved to Europe, I barely knew or even heard of these art movements. In Singapore, I grew up surrounded mostly by buildings of the Brutalist or Post-Modernist styles, with a few  in colonial or Art Deco design.

When I was living in Paris, I didn’t pay as much attention to the architecture. I know, I know, how could I have not… Moreover, Paris was where Art Nouveau, or as it was initially known – Style Mucha, came into full bloom in the late 19th century.

Soon after I moved to Brussels, the biennale Art Nouveau Art Deco started and ran across four weekends during which the public could visit and tour some pretty exceptional buildings that showcase these two art movements. AB and I managed to join some of the tours and so began my informal introduction to Art Nouveau and Art Deco!

One of the nice things about walking around Brussels would be that you can easily spot a building in Art Nouveau or Art Deco style. I find the former to be more common and occasionally daydream about living in an apartment with a balcony in a preserved Art Nouveau building.

Anyway, after I came home from work today, I thought of a photo collage that I made in 2011 following my visit to Prague – which I don’t really like as the city reminded me of a giant wedding cake. I thought that this would be an apt image to post here since Alphonse Maria Mucha, the artist who started the Art Nouveau movement in Paris, was from the former Czechoslovakia.

April 2011, Fanta’s cafe (Fantova kavárna) at the train station (Praha hlavní nádraží): This area used to be the booking/ticketing hall of the train station that was designed by Josef Fanta. When I was there, it looked a little forlorn but nonetheless impressive. I hope that some proper maintenance will happen before it is too late.

Praha hlavní nádraží - Fantova kavárna

By the way, I just learnt moments ago that many of the floral and geometric Peranakan tile designs that can still be found adorning traditional shophouses in Singapore are classified as “Art Nouveau Majolica” tiles! For more information and pictures of these pretty tiles, click herehere and here!

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