A sleeping beauty has awakened in Brussels' Saint-Gilles district. Closed since 2014, the Hannon House, a showcase of Franco-Belgian Art Nouveau, is reopening as a house-museum.
“When the façade was unveiled after restoration, I confess that my eyes teared up,” says Grégory Van Aelbrouck, curator of the Hannon House in Brussels. “Now that the railings have been regilded, it gleams like a lighthouse on the avenue.” Designed by Brussels architect Jules Brunfaut (1852-1942) and built in 1902-1905, the edifice reopened to the public on June 1 after seven years of works and restoration. However, it looks much different than it did from 1988 and 2014, when it housed the Contretype Photography Gallery, for the appeal no longer comes from the outside alone but also the interior itself, now considered the main attraction. Its architecture reflects a pivotal time when cultured men like Brunfaut embraced modernity by experimenting with Art Nouveau. The interior was one of very few entirely furnished by Émile Gallé , providing a magnificent example of the Nancy designer-manufacturer's work outside France. Undergoing a restoration to reveal its original state, set for completion by 2030, the new house museum, designed in the tradition…
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