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Explore stylish architecture in Brussels: Fabulous Art Nouveau & Art Deco design on display in the BANAD festival
The best of the Belgian capital’s Art Nouveau and Art Deco addresses are opening their doors to the public for three successive weekends from 16 to 31 March.
Brussels Art Nouveau & Art Deco Festival is celebrating its third edition with a packed programme of tours and other events designed to showcase the city’s rich heritage. More than 40 buildings are accessible for visits, some of them for the first time.
Once again it’s a unique opportunity to sneak a peek into interiors that are habitually off limits. They include sublime buildings by Belgian architect Victor Horta, who was the key Art Nouveau innovator in Europe. He transformed Brussels in the 1890s and early 20th century and as many of his designs are privately owned they are usually only viewed from the outside.
Both private and public jewels by Horta and his contemporaries, such as the Solvay, Max Hallet and Tasset Hôtels are included in the programme, as well as festival newcomers like Maison Vizzavona in Ixelles and Maison Seeldrayers in Saint-Gilles.
At the heart of the programme are the multilingual guided tours (in Eng/Fr/Dutch & German), conducted on foot, by bicycle and by coach. It’s best to book a place for these tours as soon as possible. They are very popular!
Brussels’ Art Nouveau and Art Deco heritage has long enchanted tourists as well as locals. The two distinctive movements were created by artists and architects at the turn of the 20th century. In search of a new, modern style, they were also to have a major influence on visual and graphic arts worldwide. While Art Nouveau was all flowing lines and natural forms, Art Deco shifted to angular, geometric patterns with an emphasis on the vertical and reigned until the outbreak of world war two.
The festival is also an occasion to learn more about the emblematic styles with a number of complementary themed events. They include talks, conferences, an exhibition on Art Nouveau and Art Deco on-screen at the Horta Museum, family activities, a collectors’ fair and tours for schools and visitors with reduced mobility.
Each weekend offers a selection of interior visits and guided tours. During the first, 16 & 17 March, an additional highlight is a conference on 16 March that provides an introduction to Art Nouveau and Art Deco (in Fr & Dutch).
On 23 & 24 March, a family programme introduces youngsters to the subject via guided tours and workshops. The weekend also includes talks on the Gödöllö artist colony (at the Hungarian cultural centre) and guided tours in German.
The festival’s closing weekend on 30 & 31 March promises a literary encounter with writer Kate Milie on Saturday and the traditional antiques fair devoted to Art nouveau and Art Deco objects on Sunday.
The BANAD Festival is organised by Explore.Brussels and its member associations: ARAU, Arkadia, Bruxelles Bavard and Pro Velo. They are teaming up to offer guided tours with several partners active in the fields of Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Brussels, Belgium and abroad.