Historical labs

The fourth European project of the Réseau Art Nouveau Network "Art Nouveau & Ecology" plans a series of five historical labs aiming to share the knowledge at a European level. The free study days combines research, experience and know-how to reach professionals and Art Nouveau lovers.

Historical Lab 4
Raw materials and Art Nouveau, Aveiro, 26 January 2013
Programme (in English, French and Portuguese)





Historical Lab 4 - Raw materials and Art Nouveau, Aveiro, 26 January 2013
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Francis TOURNEUR, Liège

Les pierres et les marbres dans l'oeuvre de Victor Horta
Dans les réalisations urbaines de Victor Horta, c’est la bichromie pierre bleue / pierre blanche qui est la plus fréquente, avec une variation de ces dernières, du Brabant ou de France. Certaines œuvres sont entièrement en pierre bleue, d’autres montrent des ponctuations brillantes ou colorées de vrais granites étrangers. La mise en œuvre est d’un raffinement exceptionnel. Il en est de même des décors marbriers intérieurs, utilisant toute la gamme des matières avec un sens aigu de l’accord des couleurs. Les constructions plus rurales font appel aux « pierres de pays », d’aspect plus rustique.

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Mariàngels FONDEVILA, Catalunya

The ensemblier Gaspar Homar a pioneer in the revival of marquetry work
The National Art Museum of Catalonia, MNAC (Barcelona) displays a collection of furniture by the leading cabinetmaker Gaspar Homar from private homes, some of the most outstanding of which are the pieces from the drawing room of Lleó Morera House, designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. One of the hallmarks of this furniture (together with carvings and stained glass) are the marquetries, after a design by Josep Pey, with a varied number of imported woods. With these Symbolist compositions Homar breathes life into furniture and also creates separate panels that have become true icons of Catalan Art Nouveau. This lecture will deal with the work of Gaspar Homar from different perspectives. On the one hand, his essential contribution as one of the best ensembliers working with Catalan fin-de-siècle architects; on the other, the working process in his workshops from the analysis of the materials and the study of the lignic palette of the marquetry. The different problems of conservation and restoration will be also considered, after the recent admission in the MNAC of the magnificent sofa-display, by Homar, until then being part of the furniture of an everyday use space.

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Anne-Sophie AUGUSTYNIAK, Bruxelles

Acajou du Honduras ou du Grand Bassam - Les boiseries de l'hôtel veuve Ciamberlani de Paul Hankar à Bruxelles
L’Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique a été chargé, dans le cadre du projet de restauration de l’hôtel veuve Ciamberlani, sise 48 rue Defacqz à Bruxelles, d’étudier les finitions intérieures. L’objectif était de comprendre l’évolution de ce bâtiment de Paul Hankar et de déterminer s’il subsistait ou non des décors originaux dans le but d’orienter le choix de la restauration. Outre les différentes finitions anciennes mises au jour, une étude technique et matérielle des lambris présents dans les salons du rez-de-chaussée a permis d’identifier plusieurs campagnes de mise en œuvre et l’utilisation de différents acajous, illustrant ainsi l’évolution du commerce du bois et de l’artisanat entre la fin du XIXème siècle et le premier quart du XXème siècle.

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Marija REZEK KAMBIC, Ljubljana

The renovation of the Urbanc department store Etched Glass Panels: the problem of restoration
Glass panels decorated with the technique of acid etching were fairly widespread in the architecture of Ljubljana in the second half of the 19th century. Ljubljana is still remarkable for being one of the few cities, in which etched glass panels have been preserved in their original location or at least in museum storage. Etched glass, decorated mainly with patterns, derived from historical styles, represented an indispensable piece of equipment in public and residential architecture. At the turn of the century as well Art Nouveau features started to infiltrate existing forms and ornaments such as stylised plants, flowers, etc., drawn in elegant Secession lines. The present paper deals with the conservation principles for this unique heritage in the last decades of the 20th century with the main focus on the renovation of the Urbanc department store and the reconstruction of acid etched glass panels in it.

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Carlos Alberto DIOGO SOARES BORREGO, Aveiro

Art Nouveau: A Vision of Urban Sustainability
The Art Nouveau movement was a response to the radical changes caused by the rapid urban growth and technological advances that followed the Industrial Revolution. A common feature of Europe’s different Art Nouveau movements was the identification with nature, an approach that went much further than the use of forms and materials, because it was in fact a firm commitment to the quality of life and health of citizens. Despite all the new technologies of the day were being introduced at the time, there was a wise balance between a respect for nature and the use of cutting-edge technologies. In this way, the Art Nouveau movement was pioneer towards sustainable construction by promoting energy efficiency through natural ventilation mechanisms and enhanced indoor environmental quality with the use of natural light, natural raw materials and the increase of ventilation rates. The questions of energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality enhancement should be taken into account in modern sustainability initiatives to both new construction and in the retrofitting of existing structures. Therefore it is important to guarantee that the implementation of retrofitting measures in Art Nouveau Buildings follow sustainable practices.

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With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

Responsible publisher: Arlette Verkruyssen, General Director,
Brussels Regional Public Service - Bruxelles Développement urbain (Brussels Urban Development),
CCN - Rue du Progrès 80, B. 1, 1035 Brussels - Belgium