Brussels’ Hôtel Hannon to open as Art Nouveau museum in 2023
The Hôtel Hannon in Saint-Gilles is due to open in the spring of 2023 as a museum dedicated to Art Nouveau architecture and design under the name Maison Hannon.
Restoration is still underway at the striking heritage site situated at the intersection of Avenue Brugmann and Avenue de la Junction. It will operate in partnership with the nearby Horta Museum to create a new culture tourism hub in the municipality.
Visitors can have a sneak peek of the transformation during two site visits on January 15 and 22 (reservation necessary). They’ll also be able to meet some of the artisans carrying out the restoration work.
Ahead of the open-day events, curator Grégory Van Aelbrouck (pictured above) guided journalists around the spacious mansion, draped in dust sheets. Among the treasures he unveiled were the 1904 fresco ‘The joys of life’ by painter Paul Baudoin. It was concealed for many years under layers of dirt and cobwebs until restorer Marie-Hélène Ghisdal brought it back to life in 2018.
Another large-scale work is a bow window on the ground floor, embellished with a yellow stained glass floral design on the exterior facade. Originally created by master glassmaker Raphael Evaldre, the technically demanding renovation process is ongoing. An earlier refurbishment project carried out in 2014 has facilitated the current project.
The mansion was once the home of Edouard Hannon, an engineer for the Solvay industrial group. It was built in 1902 by the architect Jules Brunfaut and designed with a subtle blend of Art Nouveau with Belgian and French influences.
Now owned by the municipality of Saint-Gilles, the future two-floor museum promises a new look at the popular Art Nouveau style of architecture and design, and an opportunity for the public to immerse themselves in the grandeur of the era.
On the ground floor, visitors can find the original furniture and artwork that was designed for the house, making its return after 40 years’ absence. They include the work of one of the most famous figures of the applied arts of his time, French designer Emile Gallé.
On the first floor, a revolving series of temporary exhibitions will highlight the work of four renowned Belgian architects: Victor Horta, Henry Van De Velde, Paul Hankar and Gustave Serrurier-Bovy.
The nonprofit Hannon Museum project is a private-public partnership that includes the municipality of Saint-Gilles, the Brussels-Capital Region, the St'Art Invest fund, the Horta Museum and the descendants of Edouard Hannon and Gustave Serrurier-Bovy.
Photos: (main image) (c) Paul Louis; (c) Saskia Vanderstichele; David Plas