Portuguese Art Nouveau? Indeed! In the late 19th to early 20th centuries, Art Nouveau was a trendy off-shoot of the Arts & Crafts movement. It is characterized by organic shapes found in nature. Art Nouveau started in Paris, and quickly spread across Europe, with each country incorporating the style within their traditional architecture. In Portugal, Art Nouveau found a home largely in Lisbon, Porto and Aveiro. And, it is in Aveiro that a new museum celebrating the design has opened.
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The Museum of Art Nouveau (Museu Arte Nova) in Aveiro is the coolest new stop on the Portugal cultural scene. The museum resides in the Casa Major Pessoa, one of the most architecturally admired buildings in the city. Building design is attributed to architects Silvia Rocha and Ernest Korrodi. On the exterior, extraordinary art nouveau detail is evident in the stone façade as well as the wrought iron embellishments. The building is topped by a noble eagle, a theme that carries through to the interior.
Inside, tiles are the dominant design element. Lining the walls are panels of traditional Portuguese azulejos (hand-painted ceramic tiles) depicting art nouveau motifs of birds, animals and flowers.
The museum is a multi-level space. The first floor features a roadmap for a walking tour of 28 iconic art nouveau buildings in the neighborhood. The second floor holds an art gallery of new artists and architects from the city, as well as an auditorium. The top floor is a space for temporary exhibitions.
Equally awesome is the Casa de Chá tearoom on the first level. This charming café has an indoor room with bistro tables. An upright piano stands ready for expert or amateur players. Outside, bean bag chairs are strewn about inviting guests to relax and enjoy the open air. A huge range of teas are available, as are specialty coffees such as cappuccino. Local cakes and fresh scones are perfect for completing a day of art nouveau appreciation.
Later in the evening, Casa de Chá changes mood and transforms into an ultra chic lounge. Tea pots are put away, and cocktail shakers are brought out. Caipirinhas are the popular choice while listing to ambient electronic music and socializing with friends.
Art Nouveau Museum
Casa Major Pessoa
Rua Dr. Barbosa Magalhães, Nº 9
Phone: +351 234406485
Tuesday to Friday – 09:30 to 12:30, and 14:00 to 18:00
Saturday and Sunday – 14:00 to 18:00.
Casa de Chá Hours:
Tuesday to Thursday – 09:30 to 02:00
Friday and Saturday – 09:00 to 03:00
Sunday – 11:00 to 21:00