Süle Ágnes: On the Functions of Floral Decorations in the Houses of Budapest Art Nouveau
The population of Budapest grew rapidly at the end of the 19th century. The Hungarian capital and outskirts reached a million inhabitants by 1910. In the hopes of achieving a better standard of living, many peasants and members of the lower-middle class moved from rural areas to the capital, where a new housing shortage had arisen. An attempt was made through private and municipal social building programs to satisfy the new demand. Tenements and settlements were built for the new workers. By creating homes for new denizens of the city using traditional floral motifs and material of folk architecture in the decoration, the architects attempted to represent the life of the country and the natural environment inside and outside the buildings. The façades were painted and sculpted with ceramic floral ornaments, the staircases decorated with flowered stained-glass windows and
wrought-iron floral banisters, and the floors of middle-class citizens’ apartment buildings, villas and city gardens tiled or paved with garden-like motifs. The present paper deals with the different types of floral decorations in the buildings of Budapest. Through analysis of their stylistic types (floral and geometrical ornaments and elements of Hungarian folk art), I introduce the social relationships between the buildings and areas where these decorative patterns were used and the functions of floral elements (the garden as a home, as a symbol of life and as an aesthetic value).