The scaffolding of Art Nouveau – Art Deco architect Henri Sauvage’s (1873-1932) stepped-terrace building at 26, rue Vavin was being dismantled yesterday to reveal a sparkling-clean, refurbished façade.
Stepped terraces are not the only unusual feature of this building. Sauvage chose to cover the façade with white, glazed stoneware tiles, the material that is commonly used for the walls of most metro stations in Paris, because of the ease with which it can be washed. The use of these tiles fulfills Sauvage’s concern for hygiene, which was a widespread social concern at the time. The tiles can also be seen as a manifestation of his desire to make a break with the past. It was a declaration of architectural modernity!
Sauvage built another stepped-terrace building at 13, rue des Amiraux in the 18th arrondissement.
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