Riga takes pride in its historical heritage of Art Nouveau buildings. Flats in Riga Art Nouveau style houses are considered to be of special architectural value, and it is very prestigious to live in a flat in Riga that is located in this style of building. There are more than 100 Art Nouveau buildings of flats in Riga. There is even a museum dedicated to Art Nouveau style in Riga. It is called “Rīgas jūgendstila centrs”. It organises exhibitions both in Riga and outside of the capital. All exhibitions are thematic and related to Art Nouveau style. The museum is located on one of the most famous Art Nouveau streets in Riga – Alberta iela 12.
For example, the 2022 spring exhibition called “Neaizmirstulītes” (translation – scorpion grasses) is dedicated to one of Art Nouveau period’s most popular symbols of love – scorpion grasses were depicted on postcards, poetry books as well as dried flowers were added to love letters. They were also depicted on porcelain tableware, glass and embroidery. Petals of scorpion grasses used to be a common decoration element during Art Nouveau times.
Architects of Art Nouveau flats in Riga
There are a number of architects that have designed Art Nouveau flats in Riga. Among some of the architects such names as Edmunds fon Trompovskis, Jānis Alksnis, Maihails Eizenšteins and Eižens Laube can be mentioned.
In one of the Art Nouveau flats in Riga now there is the museum “Rīgas jūgendstila centrs“ which once belonged to Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns. The house was designed by the owner himself and the architect Eižens Laube. This museum now is the only one in Baltics that is dedicated to Art Nouveau and the historical heritage of this iconic architecture style.
What are Art Nouveau flats in Riga like?
To gain a fuller picture of how Art Nouveau flats in Riga look like, it is possible to simply visit the Art Nouveau museum. In the museum, it is possible to see the authentic interior of the Art Nouveau flat (the building itself was built in 1903). The planning of this flat in Riga perfectly mirrors the essence of Art Nouveau.
The planning of the rooms in the museum flat in Riga is rather typical of Art Nouveau apartments. Overall, there are 8 rooms. The living room is the central room of the flat. The living room is the place where guests are invited, and sometimes even dancing and singing takes place. The living room is still as authentic as in 1903 as it has been restored. It can be seen that architects have been inspired from nature, which is characteristic of Art Nouveau style, and there are beautiful decorations made of flowers and daisies.
There is a separate fireplace room. That is the place where wine was tasted and where discussions about different topics took place. Also in this room, it can be seen that decorations are inspired by nature motives. Only here the motives are no longer floral but dendrological. At the top of the walls, there are motifs of chestnut leaves.
Among all rooms, the most splendid is the dining room. The furniture is decorated by wood carvings.
The kitchen of this flat in Riga represents how modern technology came into use in the early 20th century. Such new technologies as fridge and stove appeared in the modern Art Nouveau flats in Riga.
The private part of this apartment includes the bedroom and the maid’s room. In the bedroom, the motif of rose has been used. Rose was one of the most widely-used symbols in Art Nouveau flats in Riga. Also in folk songs, roses are often mentioned. At that time, not only did the maid take care of all the rooms and sew clothes but also worked as a guard as she was the first one to learn if someone uninvited had arrived.
Toilet and bathroom are traditionally separate rooms in Art Nouveau flats in Riga. From the beginning of the 20th century, bathrooms became an integral part of apartments as people started to take more care of their hygiene. At this time, the bath was the symbol of the cleanliness of the body. Toilet with a flush water is a novelty of early 20th century Art Nouveau flats in Riga, and it becomes irreplaceable in the modern flats in Riga.
Those are pearls, not just flats in Riga!
To conclude, flats in Riga Art Nouveau buildings are real pearls of architecture. This style still remains an inspiration for future generations and is a national heritage that Latvia is proud of. The historical centre of Riga Art Nouveau flats and buildings is also included in UNESCO heritage.