To fully comprehend the genius and radical innovation of Brussels-based Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta (1861-1947), one must see and experience his townhouses and their interiors first hand. But since only one of the four famed houses he created in his hometown during the closing years of the 19th century, is open the public – his own house and studio – it is the single testament to his inventive vision. Open to the public since the 70s, Maison Horta is operated as a Museum and its magical interiors are as close as possible to their original appearance.
My visit to the Horta Museum, which I have known from the literature for years was memorable and transforming, particularly as I was lucky to get a private tour by its legendary curator Francoise Aubry. Since 1976, she is the one who has cared for this masterpiece and made it into what it is today – a celebration of one of the most influential architects of modern times.
Built between 1898 and 1901 at 23-25 rue Américaine in Saint-Gilles, the Museum is composed of two buildings, originally occupied Horta’s home and workplace. Within a lot of 6.3 meter width, Horta succeeded to create an-11-story spacious home that seems enormous, using his innovative support beams, where iron, mosaics, stained glass, wood paneling, and furnishings are composed into an elegant and tasteful home, and where every detail, from keyholes, to built-ins, to skylights, to the iconic staircase are tuned into a symphony of design. A mandatory visit for any architect, designer, or lover of design.