Maison Hannon: A Resurrected Gem of Art Nouveau in Brussels

Great news for art and history enthusiasts, especially those captivated by Art Nouveau. As of June 1, 2023, the legendary Maison Hannon, located at the intersection of Avenue Brugmann and Avenue Jonction in Brussels,  has been reborn as a “house-museum” under the same name. This new architectural and museal center will not only enrich the cultural landscape but also enhance the tourism appeal of the upper part of Brussels. The Maison Hannon aims to preserve the spirit of Art Nouveau and engage the public through exhibitions, conferences, and interactive initiatives. With its captivating charm and rich history, this historic landmark promises a unique and immersive experience for visitors.

A House-Museum with a Rich Legacy: The restoration of Maison Hannon has reached its initial phase, with the ground floor meticulously recreating the world of the Hannons, the former owners of the house. Additionally, the first floor has been transformed into a temporary exhibition space. The extensive renovations also include the restoration of the façade. However, this is only the beginning of a much larger project. Further restoration phases will follow, accompanied by engaging activities such as conferences, tours, meetings with craftsmen, and crowdfunding campaigns. The aim is to revive this iconic Art Nouveau gem to its original splendor, showcasing the style’s Belgian roots.

Each year, the Maison Hannon plans to organize a temporary exhibition that aligns with its DNA: art in Belgium and France, with a particular focus on symbolism during the 1900s. These interdisciplinary exhibitions will explore the art and history of the era, complemented by academic research. To commemorate its opening, the Maison Hannon has unveiled a high-profile temporary exhibition on the first floor, Belgian Art Nouveau, running from June 1, 2023, to June 5, 2024. The exhibition presents a comprehensive collection of works from public and private collections, many of which have never been publicly displayed before.

A Glimpse into the Hannons’ World: Collaborating with renowned institutions such as the Musée des Arts décoratifs de Paris, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Reims, and the Musée de l’École de Nancy, the Maison Hannon offers a faithful reconstruction of the ground floor, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the Hannons’ historical context. By meticulously reproducing the original rooms, complete with furniture, works of art, photographs, and decorative objects, the Maison Hannon provides an insightful glimpse into the personal choices and lifestyle of its former inhabitants. Intricate research has gone into restoring elements such as the fabrics used in the salon, faithfully replicated with the help of archival materials and woven by Maison Prelle in France.

 Ensuring a harmonious blend of the old and the new, architect  Asli Çiçek known for her projects at Bozar as part of Europalia, undertook the challenging task of developing the Maison Hannon’s scenography. The primary goal was to retain the intimate ambiance of a house while creating contemporary, modular spaces that complement the Art Nouveau aesthetic. By using transparent constructions made of acrylic sheets and steel structures, the exhibits are beautifully showcased without obstructing the view of the wooden floors.   Asli Çiçek’s design creates a dialogue between the historical charm of Maison Hannon and the modernity of the museum.

The restoration and redevelopment of Maison Hannon have been made possible through the joint efforts of public and private entities. To date, approximately 600,000 euros have been invested in the restoration phases, with 75% of the funding provided by Urban Brussels and the remaining 25% from private sources.  With an anticipated 31,000 visitors per year, the Maison Hannon is poised to become a vital cultural destination in Brussels.

The Maison Hannon’s transformation into a captivating house-museum signifies a milestone for Belgian and foreign Art Nouveau enthusiasts. By resurrecting this historic gem, Brussels strengthens its cultural and tourist appeal. The Maison Hannon’s ongoing restoration project, engaging exhibitions, and meticulous attention to detail ensure that visitors will experience the rich legacy of Art Nouveau and gain a deeper understanding of the Hannons’ world. With its fusion of history, art, and immersive experiences, Maison Hannon promises an enchanting journey into the heart of Art Nouveau.

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