The demolition of Victor Horta’s Maison du Peuple (“House of the People”) in Brussels in 1965 was one of the greatest losses of his work. Opened in April 1899, the building was a masterpiece of experimental art noveau, containing more than 600,000 kg of ironwork. Demolition went ahead despite international protests and the building was dismantled with the promise of rebuilding it elsewhere, which never happened and the components of the building were scattered around Brussels.
There is now good news – part of the building has been incorporated in the Horta Grand Café and Art Nouveau Salon in Antwerp located next to the city theatre. The building consists of shops, restaurants and an event space of around 800 sq m with Horta’s steel trusses and framework from the Brussels Maison du Peuple incorporated in the interior design and structure of this simple and elegant building.
The dexterity of Horta’s work is that the ironwork, cleaned and reused, looks fresh and modern today and adds style to this new café/restaurant and events space which is now booked out for functions.