Art Nouveau in Aveiro

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This Portuguese coastal town is best known for its canals and Art Nouveau buildings


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From Aveiro , a coastal town in Portugal : - Art Nouveau from the late 19 th century -


Aveiro Foundation : 1515, King Manuel I Coordinates: 40° 38'N, 8° 39'W Population : ~ 80 000 Location : On the shore of a lagoon, Aveiro is a maritime town with water in its soul, crisscrossed by canals that can be navigated on colourful gondola-style boats known as ‘moliceiros’ . The lagoon, Ria de Aveiro , is a wide estuary, where the river’s freshwater mixes with saltwater that gets in from the sea.


Art Nouveau in Aveiro from the 19th-20th century


At the end of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution at its peak was reaching a dehumanized massification that contradicted the previous romantic period. Artists felt the need to humanize the iron and concrete buildings with motives from Nature, all about curves, operating a new synthesis between art and scientific progress. A more cult and life-enjoying bourgeoisie also demanded fresh perspectives in art and architecture, away from Victorian rigid straight sobriety .. Forms and materials went through a deep evolution towards modernity, under the inspiration of Alphons Mucha, Victor Horta, Rennie Mackintosh, Antoni Gaudi, Ernesto Korrodi. Most towns and cities in Europe show the influence of that artistic move known as Art Nouveau or Jugendstil , that would later lead to Modernism. Starting in Paris, it quickly spread to Vienna, of course, but also Turin, Budapest, Prague, Brussels, Glasgow, Alesund, Riga ... or the small Aveiro , in Portugal.


Aveiro is a floating city full of art nouveau treasures. The town’s economy still comes from fishing, salt and ceramics, and it was the revenue from these, plus the wealth of returning emigrants at the end of the 19th century, that led to richly decorated new residences. Aveiro’s particular style of Arte Nova includes pale-shaded tiles, ironwork balconies, sculpted pediments and porticos, and floral mouldings. Most of the beautiful tile work was produced by the Fonte Nova factory (since 1882).


Opposite the main canal, there is a series of adjoining buildings with elaborate decorative tile panels made by the Fábrica Fonte Nova . These three-storey buildings are made of extremely skilfully worked stone. The most representative Arte Nova works, from 1909, face the central canal.


The Museum is installed in a former residence that is the most exuberant example of Art Nouveau architecture, attributed to Silva Rocha and Ernesto Korrodi (1909).


The entrace gate is a fantastic ironwork of floral decoration.


Fauna and flora motifs and large arched windows that let in lots of light, maintain the impression of harmony with Nature and reflect the desire to recreate a garden in the heart of the city during a period of intensive industrialization and construction.


After the gate and the hall, the inner door is also a fine work of curved forms in stone and iron.


Another good example of fine ironwork is the spiral staircase to the first floor.


The attic dormer window, from outside and from inside.


The Tea Room inside the Museum, decorated with Art Nouveau tiles .


The back door gives access to a terrace extension of the Tea Room.


The first floor back window


(the old ) Cooperativa Agrícola , 1913 This is one of the most splendid Art Nouveau houses in Aveiro. The curvaceous elegance of the windows, with its charming wrought iron balconies and the floral details that punctuate the entire facade, display the “all about curves” aesthetics that is Art Nouveau ’s ultimate mark.


While the first floor has a running balcony, corresponding to a large room, on the 2nd floor each window has its own private balcony, denoting its privacy.


The spans between and above the windows are decorated with tile panels painted with vegetable motifs, which match the wrought iron balconies, also styled with vertical stem lilies and other geometries.


The tile fabrics are from Fonte Nova factory, 1913. The window frames are in the local limestone - pedra de ançã.


Casa dos ovos moles , 1923 The window glass is framed in Mackintosh style, in rectangles of various dimensions. The facade is crowned by a lone mansard lookout window in 3/4 elliptic " Japanese arch ".


The central balcony is supported by three strong-looking brackets. Between them there is panel of rosy tone tiles, similar to those that decorate the rest of the facade, as well as the frieze that tops the building.


Casa do Rossio , 1929


This beautiful facade has been recently restored and the house is now a tourist lodge.


Residência Silva Rocha , 1904 The ground floor door and window are framed under a single bow, decorated by two large palms and a female face. In shades of blue, white and pink, the tiles represent themes related to peacocks and flowers.


On the first floor, the balcony is supported by corbels decorated with pitcher leaves, and the two doors, protected by a wrought iron grill with floral motifs, define an arch that is identical and symmetrical to that of the lower floor.


Panels displaying interlacing compositions and entwined flowers.


Hotel “As Américas” , 1910 All along the upper perimeter, a tiled frieze runs under the roof. Windows are profusely decorated with wreaths and delicate flowered banners. The staircase is finely stylized in iron cutouts.


The window frames are decorated with flower wreaths and oval tiles.


The house was built by José de Pinho for his daughter’s dwelling.


The house serves presently as breakfast and dining room of the Hotel ‘ As Américas’ .


Casa das Âncoras - loja ‘Cais À Porta’ This unique house, facing another, more outwardly canal, displays a mix of Art Déco - Art Nouveau styles combined with green tiling and marine motifs.


It’s more like an extravaganza with elements of Art Nouveau.


Window framed in a stylized anchor


Casa Rebelo dos Santos 1911 This richly decorated house is in a very bad shape, as it has been vacant and abandonned for many years .


The basement has two stone windows under a half arch. The railing of the balcony is made of wrought iron and has vegetal decoration. The tiles are from the Fonte Nova factory, with vegetable decoration mainly.


Pensão Ferro Ferro Guesthouse was a former woodwork workshop, designed by Silva Rocha between 1909 and 1910.


The façade is decorated with two medallions as well as floral elements,


Edifício Pompeu Figueiredo Two storey house with gable roof coverage and Art Nouveau decoration. The central double window on the first floor has an unusual balcony decorated with two tile panels of geometric motifs.


The cornice is decorated with shells and volutes.


Tile panel with lilies Fonte Nova factory, 1912 ©Mário Ricca, 2018 The End

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