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More Art Nouveau in Helsinki

Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

More Art Nouveau, Helsinki

Art Nouveau Street:-

Art Nouveau Street, Helsinki

Not Art Nouveau, but a nice twin-spired church:-

A Helsinki Church

Art Nouveau Buildings, Helsinki

These buildings flanked Esplanadi:-

Helsinki, Art Nouveau Building

Ground floor detail:-

Detail Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

Upper floors:-

Art Nouveau Style, Helsinki

Upper Floors, Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

A bit further along:-

Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

I can’t remember which street this was on:-

Helsinki, Art Nouveau

On the corner of Bulevardi and Errotajankatu is the rather pleasing Rake:

Rake, Helsinki

Helsinki Central Railway Station (i)

My first glimpse of Helsinki Central Railway Station was from a distance. I had seen this clock tower on the way to the Sibelius Monument and thought, that looks deco, so resolved to photograph it on the way back:-

Helsinki Railway Station Clock Tower

We wandered closer to investigate and discovered the building it served is the Central Railway Station. I suppose technically it’s not Deco as it was designed and built before 1920. It has elements of Art Nouveau tipping over into Deco though. The building is a masterpiece.

This is only its side entrance:-

Helsinki Railway Station Side Entrance

Close-up on arched window. Note also canopy and doors:-

Arched Window, Helsinki Railway Station

The interior was stunnning. This, arched ceiling, clock, interior partition windows is the least of it. The light fitting is a bit modern, though:-

Hallway Helsinki Railway Station

Great decoration below arched ceiling:-

Helsinki Railway Station Interior

Looking towards main entrance. Rule of three in partition windows. Great decoration on pillars and surround:-

Interior Helsinki Railway Station


Concourse Helsinki Railway Station

Arched window from inside:-

Arched Window, Helsinki Railway Station

This arched partition window is wonderful:-

Wonderful Arched Partition Window,Helsinki Railway Station


Interior Hallway, Helsinki Railway Station


Interior Detail, Helsinki Railway Station

Another arched window:-

Another arched window, Helsinki Railway Station

There’s more of this to come!

Helsinki, Finland

Next stop after St Petersburg was Helsinki, capital of Finland.

A lot of the buidings in the city centre are in the Art Nouveau style. These are the ones I photographed on the way to the Sibelius Monument.

Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

Helsinki, Art Nouveau Building

Yellow Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

Another Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

The one in the centre here shades into Art Deco in the windows:-

Art Nouveau/Art Deco  Building, Helsinki

Note the giraffe figures on the balcony here:-

Giraffes In Helsinki

I have absolutely no idea what these were about:-

Giraffes in Helsinki, Close-up

Eliseyev Grocery, Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg

Eliseyev‘s is a celebrated upmarket grocery on Nevsky Prospekt, built in the Art Nouveau style:-

Eliseyev Grocery, Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg,

Eliseyev Grocery Figures, Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg

View up Nevsky Prospekt. Victory Day banner prominent on lamppost:-

Figures, Eliseyev Grocery, Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg

The store’s stained glass windows are lovely:-

Windows, Eliseyev Grocery, Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg

Sneek (ii)

Dutch towns have interesting architectural features. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a building is Art Deco or not. Others are distinctively Dutch/Low Countries as on the right here:-

Buildings in Sneek, The Netherlands

The doorway to the middle building above has Art Deco features to it. Certainly there’s “rule of three” in the windows above it and the door itself has a very 30s feel. The ironwork on the gates is good too:-

Art Deco Doorway, Sneek, The Netherlands,

The brickwork on the canalside house below is very distinctive and there’s more than a hint of Deco to the double doors in the centre. Also a Charles Rennie Mackintosh feel to all the doors:-

Decorative Brickwork, Sneek, The Netherlands

And is this Deco or merely Dutch style?:-

Deco Style? Sneek, The Netherlands

Note the squares in the window highlights. And there’s an Art Nouveau touch to the decoration just above the windows but below the brick arches:-

Deco Detail, Sneek, The Netherlands

Glasgow School of Art

I was devastated to hear today of the fire at Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s masterpiece building, the Glasgow School of Art. (For pictures of the undamaged building see here.)

I have featured another of his buildings, Scotland Street School, here.

I have also visited the House for an Art Lover, built to Mackintosh designs in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park (on part of the site of the Empire Exhibition, Scotland, 1938,) and Hill House in Helensburgh as well as the Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow but all without benefit a modern camera. All are visually stunning.

I must confess to being a teeny bit annoyed when Lorna Gordon, BBC London’s Scotland correspondent, called the Art School an Art Deco building. None of Mackintosh’s buildings are Deco. They are leaning towards it, certainly, but really have more in common with Art Nouveau. At a pinch you could say they act as a bridge between the two styles. While some Mackintosh designs have the blend of horizontal and vertical that is a signifier of Art Deco he also had a strong liking for curves which grew firmly from the Art Nouveau tradition of evoking nature and natural forms.

I assume the plans for the School of Art are still in existence somewhere – and that there is insurance in place. Even if it is costly it is to be hoped that some sort of effort at restoration can be made to the Art School. The result may not be original but so few of Mackintosh’s designs were erected in his lifetime it would be tantamount to a crime to allow to disappear the outstanding example that was.

In the meantime, not just Glasgow, not only Scotland, but the world, is a poorer place to live in tonight.

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 9: Nicolson Street

I spotted these windows the last time we were in Edinburgh.
They are at the start of Nicolson Street, just after South Bridge travelling south.
They seem to belong at the moment to a restaurant called Spoon.
It’s the overall shape plus the bend to the frontage that gives the Deco feel.

Art Deco Style Windows, Edinburgh

The nice stained glass detailing is more Art Nouveau than Deco however.

Restaurant windows, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh

The Empire Exhibition, Glasgow, 1938

The zenith of Art Deco (or of Moderne if you must) in Scotland came in 1938 with the Empire Exhibition, Scotland, held in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, and which opened 75 years ago today on 3/5/1938.

Tait's Tower

Its signature building was the Tower of Empire (seen in the above photograph taken from the link) designed by Thomas Tait whose houses at Silver End I featured eighteen months ago. The tower was erected on the hill in Bellahouston Park and dominated the Exhibition.

Tait was in overall charge of the architecture for the Exhibition – some of whose buildings made extensive use of the new construction material, asbestos cement! – and designed many of the buildings himself.

My favourite is the Atlantic Restaurant, a ship-shaped building cresting the wave of the hill on which it was set, two postcards of which I reproduce below.

Atlantic Restaurant

Atlantic Restaurant in Colour

Sadly almost none of the buildings remain. (It was a condition of such events that their locations were restored to their original condition soon afterwards. Moreover shortly afterwards the country was involved in the Second World War and conserving architecture became a minor consideration. The Exhibition itself came to an end in the midst of the Munich Crisis.)

Only the Palace of Arts is still standing in Bellahouston Park itself. It was transformed into a sports pavilion. The Palace of Engineering was taken down and re-erected at Prestwick Airport and can still be found there. The South Africa building was in Dutch Barn style rather than deco or moderne and later became a staff canteen at ICI Ardeer. All the rest were demolished.

Think of what a tourist attraction Tait’s Tower, as it was known, could have been! Glasgow’s answer to Eiffel.

As it is, the main tourist draw in the Park today is the House for an Art Lover built to designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh whose buildings are a sort of bridge between the freer, flowing style of Art Nouveau and the more rigid Art Deco.

You may have noticed that I have added a new category to my list especially for this Exhibition. There is so much more I could, and will, post.

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