Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Rue Campagne-Premiere and two Parisian beauties

31 Rue Campagne-Premiere
Rue Campagne-Premiere is a pretty side street in Paris' 14th arrondissement. Close to the Cimitiere de Montparnasse, it has a number of links with the areas artistic past, not least the Hotel Istria, which according to the external plaque lists Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Moise Kiesling, Man Ray, Erik Satie, Tristan Tzara and Kiki of Montparnasse as having been patrons during the 1920's. That's quite an impressive list of Surrealists, their friends and fellow travellers. The Istria must have seen some interesting evenings!

The Istria may well have been the centre of things in Rue Campagne-Premiere during the 1920's, but there are two other buildings in the street that are far more interesting form an architectural point of view. Number 31 could be loosely described as art nouveau but in reality defies classification. Designed by Andre Arvidson and built in 1910, it was built in the centre of Montparnasse to house artists and to provide 20 studio spaces for them within the same building. An early version of live-work space no less. The studios at the upper level have immensely long windows allowing light to flood in to the artist's work spaces, but the building's outstanding feature is its facade, covered in a riot of ceramic patterns in many colours. The ceramics were the work of Andre Bigot who was also responsible for the ceramic work on the faced of 29 Avenue Rapp, the Jules Lavirotte designed building and more classically art nouveau than Arvidson's building. 

Main entrance, 31 Rue Campagne-Premiere
Detail, 31 Rue Campagne-Premiere
Detail, 31 Rue Campagne
A little further along the street at number 23, stands another building originally constructed as artists' studios. This one dates from 1931 and displays modernist features of the later art deco period including a lower facade constructed of glass bricks and  corner terraces at the upper levels. The main structural material is concrete and the slightly austere feel of the building is broken by a highly decorative glass and steel door leading to the ground floor shop. The upper levels remain artists' studios. The architect responsible was Edmond Courty, about whom I have been able to find out very little.

23 Rue Campagne-Premiere
Corner terraces, 23 Rue Campagne-Premiere
Glass brick facade, 23 Rue Campagne-Premiere
Paris is full of side streets with hidden architectural treasures, secret histories and cultural memories      
best stumbled upon when strolling in the less busy parts of the city, away from the main tourist areas. You can read more about the city's secrets at Secret Paris.

You might also like A House of Tiles in Paris

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