This year I decided to sign up to several of the Voir et Dire a Bruxelles architectural discoveries and walks. Selling out really fast, the Victor Horta private townhouses tours are one of their bestsellers and an unique opportunity to visit many of the grand houses he designed.
For those of you not familiar with Victor Horta, he was a Belgian architect and designer who lived at the turn of the last century and is credited to being key to the Art Nouveau architectural movement in Europe. An absolute must in terms of Brussels touristic sights.
My first visit with Voir et Dire a Bruxelles this year was the Max Hallet townhouse. Located on Ave. Louise, the townhouse was designed and built by his friend, Victor Horta, between 1904-1906. A (socialist) politician and lawyer, Max Hallet did not desire any opulence in his house which is why compared to other Horta houses this one is … pretty stark. Stark for Horta, an impressive piece of 1900s architectural design for today’s visitors.
I would not do the Max Hallet townhouse or indeed Victor Horta, any justice to describe the house here. Photography inside the townhouse is still forbidden under copyright law until next year (under Belgian law, buildings and art in public places can be photographed and published only 70 years after the death of the author). For today, the only way to discover the mark Victor Horta left on this townhouse on Ave Louise is to book a visit. However you probably saw my rain drenched facade photos on instagram.
I will share with you some of the details that stood out for me – the indoor greenhouse, the light switches and hinges designed by Horta to match the house style, the built-in cabinets in the dining room, the fading Japanese wall paper which flows in the living room furniture and the gorgeous inner courtyard and symmetrical back facade.
A joy of Art Nouveau architecture, the Max Hallet townhouse visit was a wonderful different mark that Victor Horta left on Brussels architecture. I am already excited for the next visit.
The Max Hallet townhouse can be visited on appointment only. Entry costs 25e/pp.