The Foundation Frison Horta is a hidden jewel of the city of Brussels that currently is being restored by Nupur Tron. It was the second house designed in Brussels by Victor Horta for his lawyer friend Maurice Frison. Nupur Tron is the owner and founder of the Foundation Frison Horta and at the same time inhabitant of the Frison House. It is a true living museum which she has dedicated her life in recovering the Art Nouveau architecture that greatly inspired the world, altough a bit too briefly due to the world wars.
Nupur bought the house, which was in a state of neglect, and restored it carefully. She initially did not know who Horta was but quickly got passionate about his architecture and even started doing a Master’s thesis about Horta and India, with the aim to uncover an untold relationship between European Art Nouveau and Sanskrit subcontinental culture and bringing the missing link of India in the forefront of the Art Nouveau Movement.
Victor Horta designed the Frison house (1894), which is the second house of Horta, following the classic Brussels townhouse plan: “seven meters wide, twenty-two meters deep and about twenty meters high with a monumental staircase leading to the Seven Skies with seven floors” (Foundation Frison Horta), in line with the rest of the buildings of Lebeau street. The multiple interiors of the Maison Frison are elegantly adorned with frescos and furniture all in the Art Nouveau characteristic style. Likewise, the structural elements of the building portray their tectonics with malleability and grace. The colour palette features delicate transitions and “ombre” applications analogous to the light and colours one can see at dawn or dusk. The choices that Horta made in materials show that he did not compromise quality for expediency.
What is equally noticeable is the clear connection between Horta’s designs and the Indian culture. The entire house is filled with Hindu symbols and motives in what makes an excellent case for the adaptiveness and holistic application of traditional architecture using an European building typology informed by subcontinental culture and crafts. It was a happy marriage between the West and the east which sparked a brief and magical movement in architecture and design that reached other continents such as the Americas.
The Foundation Frison Horta (2018) was created with the purpose of promoting heritage, performing arts and crafts by providing a platform to host cultural institutions and museums and cultural events; hosting guided visits and concerts; restoration, preservation and sharing of heritage, culture and traditional craftsmanship; partnership in providing venues for events with crucial stakeholders of society like cultural, academic, financial, touristic and entrepreneurial institutions.
The T.R.A. is proud to welcome Nupur Tron Foundation Frison Horta as a new knight of traditional architecture, in part because we share similar values that we think are important to realise such as developing local economies and craftmanship, finding sustainable solutions to the art of building, and embellishing our built environment.