19 Rue Henri Maus, Brussels, Belgium
02 511 87 89
Falstaff Brussels Reviews
The transition from Art Nouveau to Art Déco May 15, 2008
There are loads of wonderful bars and cafes in the old city center of Brussels. The Falstaff is one of them and it was usually the place that we held receptions for colleagues that stopped at work or had something to celebrate.
I have always loved the place due to the wonderful Art Nouveau design. Sometimes this place can feel like a historical institution but it is amazing to still be able to have places like this so many years later.
In 1886, Baron Allard makes two twin homes in street Henri Maus, which is situated close to the Beurse. At that time the Senne River flew across the center of Brussels at the place of the Anspachlaan, 50 meters away from Falstaff.
In 1903, Miss Broeckaert bought the two estates and make a Weinstube called Falstaff in the first one. Back then clients was often traders and bankers who used to be working in the stock exchange building just next door. The Falstaff was back then specialized in wines imported from the Mosel and Rhine valleys and this well sort after by the traders after a hard day of work.
Miss Broeckaert asked Mr. Houbbion to design the decoration; Mr. Houbbion who was a carpenter end interior architect usually worked with the famous Baron Horta. The Falstaff is therefore directly inspired by the old master and the pure style of Art Nouveau.
Colours and shapes in the café are directly inspired by the nature, like the two big windows in front of the house resemble the shape of water's drops but the house is also influenced by the fact that the electric light that was coming into homes and apartments during that time. Inside the building you can also see Japanese arches under the roof that is an illustration of the impressionist painters fascination of Japanese etchings.
The most remarkable decorations in the café are the two mosaic windows in the back of the main room. They have been built in 1906 respectively 1916, when the success of the Falstaff required an extension of the café. The ten years that separate the two windows shows the quick transition from Art Nouveau to Art Deco.
The themes of the two windows are the same; play with light, forms and shapes directly inspired from the nature also known as “organic architecture”. The first window shows a big number of complicated elements and a lot of colours, while the second one has the same themes but is very simplified and the lines are more pure. This is why Falstaff is the best place in Belgium to understand the transition from Art Nouveau to Art Déco.
The name Falstaff derives from Sir John Falstoff; a diplomat and British Captain from the Royal Family. Sir Falstoff was known in London to be a big drinker, eater, and player etc., and William Shakespeare created a character with almost the same name and habits in the theater play Henri V. The Falstaff character was used in 3 of his plays.
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