Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What Do You Do When It's Cold and Snowy Outside? Go Have Lunch at Menza!

Menza is a great restaurant in Franz Liszt ter right off Andrassy.  (It's the bottom floor of an Emil Vidor building.)  Menza means "canteen" in Russian and was the name of places workers ate under Communism.  The restaurant is decorated in 1970-ish colors and decor, but its food is very much of the here and now.  

Here we are on our almost last day in  Budapest.  It's really cold and snowing.  What do we do?  We go out to lunch!

 Here we eat delicious duck tortellini  in truffle sauce.

We drink a nice bottle of Hungarian white wine.

And we once again bravely tackle the fried "cottage cheese" doughnuts with sour cream and blueberry marmelade.  

Flying home tomorrow.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Albert Kalman Korossy. The Walko Haus. Outside AND Inside.

The Walko Haus by Albert Kalman Korossy was built in 1901.  It sits at Aulich utca 3.  The beautiful figure at the top is a mosaic by Geza Maroti, one of Budapest's most important sculptors.

The figure is Eve, and below her is a veritable garden of Eden, filled with flowers and plants.

Squirrels, birds feeding their young, frogs, rabbits, peacocks (So Art Nouveau), and even a snake (and many more).\


This is one of the most famous Art Nouveau buildings in Budapest. Its facade is extravagant and beautiful.  But what does it look like inside?

Well, I was taking photos the other day and someone came out of the building.  I asked if I could step inside and take a photo and to my absolute shock she said yes.  So here it is.  Beautifully organic in so many ways.

From the flowered tile made to resemble a carpet.

The stucco decoations.

 The stairway column, carved to look like its growing  out of the building.

And the railings that look like twigs.

We were so excited, we took ourselves out to a great lunch at Klassz.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bela Lajta. The Vocational School. (Taking Pictures in the Rain)

Bela Lajta (1873-1920) was one of the most innovative and original architects of his time.  (He did the Jewish School for the Blind with its remarkable fence which I wrote about earlier.)  Although he trained with the masters (Alajos Hauszman and  Odon Lechner) he quickly went his own way.  He was highly individual and imaginative.  One of the hallmarks of his work is the intricate graphic design which makes the often  simple lines  of his buildings remarkable.

The tile above comes from the Technical School on Vas utca 9-11, which Lajta built between 1909 and 1913.  The building is fairly austere and relies more on graphic design than color to achieve its effect--a quality which makes it a good candidate for photographing on a cold, gray day. ( I mention this because we have had a lot of rain, sleet, and snow this visit, which has made for some creative thinking about how to spend our days.)  

However, close attention to its details awards.  What is particularly interesting is how technical  images woven  into more traditional organic imagery.

We were lucky to be allowed inside as well.

The original ceiling  decoration.

Tiles  and glass.

And on the facade these lovely owls, symbols of wisdom.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Schiller Villa by Jozsef Vago: An Interior Extraordinaire

The Schiller Villa was built in 1910-1912 by the renowned Hungarian architect Jozsef Vago for Miksa Schiffer, a railway engineer, entrepreneur, and art patron.  Vago conceived the villa as a gesamtkunstwerk, or a "total work of art."  He designed the exterior (which is greatly changed from its original appearance) and the interior (which has been restored based on contemporary photographs).  The interior is meant to highlight the best art in Hungary:  major artists working in a Hungarian tradition, including Kernstock Karoly (who designed the stained glass windows), the painter Rippl-Ronai, and Miklos Ligeti who contributed a sculpture.  All the design details of the house were Vago's and were based on traditions in Hungarian folk art.

Stained glass windows predominate in the villa:

Tiles by Zsolnay

Sculpture by Ligeti

And myriad architectural details, all created by Vago.

This house survived by a series of accidents.  It is currently the Museum of Tax and  Excise.  I think most people come to view the building though.  It is one of the very few extant Art Nouveau interiors not only in Hungary but Europe as a whole.  It is not well  known--doesn't appear in most of the tourist guides.  So it is a true hidden treasure.