If Brussels is teeming with admirable facades, there are also the houses of craftsmen who have worked, for their customers, with art and skill, to create the most beautiful houses. Specialists in ceramics, ironwork, sculptures,… without forgetting building contractors, they often expressed their talents on their own facades, making them their illustrated “business card”. In a future post, we will introduce you to the experts in mosaic, sgraffito, stained glass, painting as well as the architects.
You have to go and see, in Berchem St-Agathe, avenue de Selliers de Moranville, 11, the home of one of the three most famous Brussels ceramists of the early 20th century, Guillaume Janssens (1880-1956).
The facade of the Villa Marie-Mirande, named after the craftsman’s daughter, is entirely covered with tiles made in the ceramist’s workshops, specializing in floral art-nouveau.
This “advertising” facade is unique in Brussels and worth a detour.
In 1967, the ceramist Willem Hayen entrusted architect Roger De Winter with the task of designing his house.
De Winter designed a cubist villa in a very modernist style, in vogue at the time.
He incorporated, under the balcony, a large ceramic made by his client. Willem Hayen also took care of the villa’s street number by creating a 77 surrounded by a shark and a swan… see HERE to understand why.
In 1900, architect Edmond Pelseneer designed a facade full of images for his client, the construction company Dricot. The creation of the large sgraffito decorating the facade was entrusted to Paul Cauchie, the most famous of all.
Recently superbly restored, one can still admire these sgraffiti which, all around the large loggia, illustrate the company’skills, plasterer, carpenter, roofer, mason, etc…
On the other side of the city, in St-Gilles, the same year, it was architect Ernest Blerot who designed the house and the warehouse of the van Bellinghen Tomberg construction company, as indicated by the inscription in mosaic on the lintel above the entrance porch of the workshops.
For the decoration of these superb facades, Blerot also called on the best craftsmen. One can only marvel at the woodwork, stained glass, sgraffito and mosaics, all so well preserved
We are never served so well as by ourselves ! When an architect is also a building contractor, his house can only be remarkable. That of Frans Van Ophem is in Schaerbeek. Built in 1897, it was restored in 2003 and is now occupied by an architectural firm.
On this beautiful facade, Van Ophem has illustrated the different construction trades.
If the facade of this house in Forest is rather banal, and nowhere listed, you definitely have to go and see this wonderful and surprising front door up close. There is a bird, probably a peacock in flight at sunset, surrounded by art deco scrolls.
Above the entrance, in the awning, an inscription tells us that it is La Forge d’Art. All is said.
Victor Horta surrounded himself with the best craftsmen of his time, including his friend sculptor Pierre Braecke, for whom he designed his house-workshop in 1903.
To demonstrate his qualities, the sculptor took care of the front door handles, thus marking his house forever, which one can still admire today, superbly restored.
To read the part 2: HERE
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