- To discover Hector Guimard’s spirit, “Pope” of the Art Nouveau.
- To wander through a quiet Parisian neighborhood.
- To share with Mathieu your passion for modern architecture.
- To discover over a century old yet eternally youthful masterpieces.
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Today, a very “chic” area, Paris 16th district was formerly a village away from the city, an ideal site for urban and architectural innovations. Between 1895 and 1930 young architects worked here, wishing to create new esthetic features.
Hence, Auteuil was the birthplace of Art Nouveau, with Guimard, and then Art Deco (or Modern Style) with Le Corbusier or Mallet-Stevens. To prove they sincerely shared the aspirations of their patrons, these artists installed their own house or workshop in the same neighborhood.
Mathieu takes you on a discovery of the designers and physicians, industrials, and newly come bourgeois who trusted them. Together, they looked for an art able to embody their new social status and their enthusiasm for the new century. Tired of eclectic historic revival styles, looking for a unique and united art, they longed to live a modern life in a modern domestic environment.
Thanks to them, between 1895 and 1925, more than 400 new buildings were built in this district. Mathieu will show you the absolute must-sees.
Meet your welcomer at Castel Beranger, Hector Guimard’s first important construction (1895-96), even before he became designer of the decorative entrances to the Parisian metro. Distinct volumes pattern the facade, Guimard introduced colors and vegetal inspiration to break with Haussmann’s severe and uniform urbanism. Guimard took care of everything, from structure to keyhole, looking for proximity and accuracy with daily life. For example, how to design a door handle? Just press a handful of clay in your palm. And that’s it!
Success happened immediately. Guimard built as many private mansions as housing estates. Mathieu will show you Rues Agar, the Gros & Lafontaine complex and Hotel Mezzara (1910). Guimard was a master of space display. In his own house, avenue Mozart, he cleverly combined a private dwelling, with his architecture firm and his wife Adeline’s painting workshop!
Step by step Guimard’s style matured to escape to “noodle style” exaggerations akin to the next style to arrive: Art Deco. Born in the Interwar period, this architecture is perfectly understandable by looking at Henri Sauvage’s Studio Building. Sober lines, sharp edges, and light-catching tile facades.
Robert Mallet-Stevens extended these principles on a bigger scale. Mathieu will take you to the street bearing the architect’s name to admire a private villas complex, each created to suit a specific activity: a dwelling for a pianist should not need the same feature as one for a sculptor… or the architect himself.
At the end of the tour, you will have the opportunity to spot the Villa La Roche, a Le Corbusier’s creation, sheltered in the remote and quiet Square du Docteur Blanche. Your Welcomer will explain you the importance of this architect in purist architecture. You would be able to visit the place on your own if you wish (tickets in extra charge)
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