Frankenstein Art Deco

Although Art Deco stopped being popular in the 1940s in Europe and America, the style remained in vogue much later in Asia. Examples of Art Deco architecture from the 1950s abound in Singapore, India, Indonesia and Burma among others. In Shanghai, it definitely stopped in the mid 40’s. The Chinese Liberation brought a change of style and Soviet-inspired Socialist-Realism became the norm, with rows of small four-to-six-storey concrete building designed to house families. As discussed in a previous post (See post “The Rise of Fako“, there has been recently a trend toward remodeling or new construction with the addition of Art Deco artifacts, mostly affecting the outside appearance. Art Deco buildings also had a strong influence on 1980s and 1990s buildings in Shanghai, the ones I call Frankenstein Art Deco.

Art Deco influence in Shanghai 90s buildings

The 1990s was the beginning of the new building boom in Shanghai that persists today. In those early days, the mood was not in massive destruction of the old buildings, as large chunks of the city center were not available to developers. Those new buildings were more often built on the remaining free spaces, mostly the gardens of grand villas in the old part of Shanghai. I imagine these space was already being used, but surely more in an unofficial way, so it was easier for developers to re-appropriate them. In these large spaces, local architects could build new towers using concrete building technologies not so far from the ones used in the 1930s. Buildings from the 1990s were often 20-30 storeys (that is, about the height of Park Hotel on people square), designed by local architects, before foreign architect firms arrived for Shanghai’s recent building boom.

These local architects must have been trained by masters that learned their craft before the 1949 revolution, and it shows in the building designs. As opposed to later apartment blocks, these buildings include light wells, just like 1930s buildings in Shanghai (See post “Brooklyn Court, Route des Soeurs“). Unlike today’s buildings, they were designed before the age of mass air conditioning, so they stuck to natural airflow just as Europeans had designed them in the 20s and the 30s. Another Art Deco element is the recurrent use of porthole round window (oeil de boeuf, or “bull’s eye”, as they are called in French), and rounded corners. One can also find integrated balconies (that have mostly now been turned into expanded rooms), as opposed to the protruding balconies that are today’s norm (which are also often closed off to supply extra space). Another interesting point is the use of old 1930s style iron-framed windows in many 1990s building. Shanghai continued to produce building materials and equipments that were practically unchanged from the 40s, including roof tile and electrical switches, well into the 1990s.

In many of these buildings, the link with Art Deco is as much in the outside shape, as with the inside decoration. Old Shanghai Art Deco designers often used terazzo and mosaics in their interiors; 1990s architects often used marble tiles that look quite similar, though much less imaginative.

In any case, Art Deco influences were evident in the 1990s, as architects employed consciously or unconsciously, the designs and techniques of their forefathers. Like many things in Shanghai (including cuisine, see post “Tasting of Old Shanghai”), Art Deco and other 1930s design elements  survived through the 1950s and until the 1980s emerging in attenuated and distorted form in the 1990s in the “Frankenstein” version of Shanghai Art Deco.

Ordinary Metropolis – Shanghai: a Model of Urbanism

urbanism 001Books published by scholars both in China and abroad have long shown that China’s modernity was created first in Shanghai, in the 1920’s ans 1930’s. The city rapidly caught on with the rest of the World after World War 1, thanks to numerous exchanges and people travelling between Shanghai, and Europe and the USA. Visible intake were the Art Deco building still visible in the city, dance halls, cars, advertising, department stores and all the other elements that are still found while researching today. They also brought fresh ideas, including in town planning for Shanghai, which is the center of a current exhibition at Shanghai Power Station of Art. It has 2 main parts, one about new Shanghai planning from the 1930’s and the other about 1930’s architecture and design, in particular Dayu Doon’s art deco house built in that area.

Shanghai former Civic Center
Shanghai former Civic Center town hall

The first part of the exhibition is focused on town planning for the new Jiang Wan area: After taking back control of a large part of China, Chiang Kai Shek quickly unified the parts of Shanghai that were around the International Settlement and the French Concession. Creating the Shanghai municipality also made clear that the center of Shanghai was the concessions, so the republican government went on creating a new city center for Shanghai, in what is now Jiangwan area, in today’s Yangpu district. Inspired by Washington DC, the new Civic Center included the new town hall of Shanghai, a museum, a national library and a major hospital. The exhibition shows rarely seen maps and efforts of planning this new district that was only partly built from 1927 until the Japanese invasion in 1937. It also details how land was supposed to be allocated to various functions, the very concept of zoning that is still applied in Shanghai today.

Art deco house
Dayu Doon art deco model house

The second part is focused on the art of architect Chinese modernism, in particular Dong Dayou / 董大酉 (Dayu Doon in English) who was one of the main promoter of Chinese modernism. He designed a model house for the area around the Civic Center, that can be compared with  international modern style of the time, as well as foreign modernist architects of the time in Shanghai Laszlo Hudec (orginally from Hungary) and Leonard & Vesseyre (from France). Another art deco house on display by architect Poy Gum Lee looked really familiar to me, until I realised it is located opposite from my office (See post Poy Gum Lee’s lost building for more about it).

Magazines from the 1930's
Magazines from the 1930’s

Beyond the architect work, the exhibition also includes many examples of graphic art and magazines displaying modern style of the time, showing that Shanghai was the door through which modernity came to China in the 1930’s. This modern movement was not only brought by foreigners, but really embraced by Chinese artists and everywhere in Shanghai. After reading many books on the topic, this is the first time I see such an exhibition in China.

California Dreaming

Art Deco in SOMA
Art Deco in SOMA

Having met several delegates from California during the last Shanghai Art Deco Congress was surely part of the decision for a trip to the sunshine state over the latest Chinese New Year. We were really lucky with the weather as the weekend of President Day was the one of blue sky and nicer than normal temperatures in February, best after exceptional good weather in Shanghai in the previous days (see pictures from those days). We had not even reached our destination that Shanghai had already caught with us, with a conference in Standford University by old Shanghai original re-discoverer, Tess Johnston attended by a friend we later visited.

california 002
Alcatraz light tower and prison

Expectations about Art Deco were definitely met from day 1 in San Francisco. The city is mostly famous for its rows of victorian style wooden houses bordering streets going up and down, but Art Deco is very well represented. Art Deco buildings can be found towering the hills of the city and in the Mission district and SOMA area, like the enclosed picture of the office of San Francisco Chronicle. The other major Art Deco sight is on the bay, with some of the piers and docks, Alcatraz prison… and the Golden Gate Bridge.

As expected, California has lot’s of Art Deco just like Shanghai, but another style very common in Shanghai can also be found in California, where it originated. Spanish Colonial Revival style was not so visible in San Francisco, but it only took a short trip South to see much more of it.

Spanish revivals in Palo Alto
Spanish revivals in Palo Alto

California was first scouted by Christian missionaries, who created a line of missions all the way up to San Francisco. The Spanish Colonial style of the 16th century missions, inspired a revival in the 19th and 20th Century. This style was used to make many villas and houses in California, creating a mix of Art Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival style that makes Shanghailanders feel just at home. The same mix can be found in many smaller cities in California like San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara. Having been built in the same time, 20’s – 30’s Shanghai and California, it should not be surprising that both had the same building styles then.

Stanford main corridors
Stanford main corridors

The best example of Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture is the main building of Stanford University, which main building from late 19th century is really inspired from Spanish architecture, overlooked by a very nice Art Deco tower.

Art Deco in San Luis Obispo
Art Deco in San Luis Obispo

One of the many example of great Californian Art Deco, is the San Luis Obispo Court House. It is located very closed to the original Spanish mission and Victorian style wood houses. Another great example of the California mix of architecture, that feels really familiar when coming from Shanghai.

 

mystery house on ChangLe lu

Original Staircase
Original Staircase

Historic buildings in Shanghai have been badly maintained for many years and have sustained the lack of care fairly well. Many have been renovated in the last year, either with love and attention like Bund 18 or Kee Club. Many more have seen a ruinovation keeping only the external façades and totally destroying the interior with no respect for the original.  As a history enthusiast, I rarely agree with the transformations that often take place along with the renovations. It was then really interesting to find out about an unfinished art deco villa, in a location where I have been many times, but never noticed it.

Art Deco balcony
Art Deco balcony

The original building was an enormous house, on three floors with about 1200 sqm of surface. The facade was facing South, like most houses in Shanghai with a large garden on the south side, ending on today’s ChangLe lu. As the house was used by the army for many years, some buildings used as army barracks and offices have been built in what was the garden. A small park was also added on the ChangLe Lu side, closing the view and covering it up from the general public view. Without knowing, it was impossible to see the original modernist / Art Deco villa in the middle.

Versailles parquet
Versailles parquet

What makes it really special, is that this house was clearly never finished by the original team. From the style and the construction details, it was probably started between 1945 and the late 1940’s, but was not completed as planned. The staircase (first picture) and the second floor and balcony was completed, but the ground floor remained unfinished. It is clear that half of the ground floor terrazzos were high quality, but the rest was finished in a hurry using lower quality materials. Both the ground and first floors have a very large room in the middle, surrounded by small rooms. Only 2 of the small rooms, seem to have had the original Versailles parquet installed. The rest of the parquet is of much less quality, although age has colored it nicely.

art deco fireplace
art deco fireplace

Another nice touch is the Art Deco fire place on the second floor. Like most original fireplaces in Shanghai, it has been filled up with concrete (see post freezing Shanghai for more details). Renovation has turned it back into a nice, though useless, piece.

The general structure of the house is really interesting, as the central second floor is made of concrete (covered with a woodfloor), but the small surrounding rooms are parquet only. The original ground floor decoration was never made, altough the house was eventually finished-up at some stage and used as offices. Two more buildings were added in what was originally the garden. Since the house was never finished in its original style, the developers have spent a lot of effort restoring original details, while adding a very modern touch to it.The building is about to open again as center for design and fashion firms with the now usual addition of fashionable shops, bars and restaurant. The place will be called Mixpace and located on Changde Lu, close to the corner of Shaanxi Lu.

 

Closing the Shanghai World Congress on Art Deco

WCAD 001The World Congress on Art Deco in Shanghai had been years in the making (see post Shanghai World Congress on Art Deco from 2012) and turned out to be a great event. Most of the organisation and preparation was done by Patrick Cranley (See article from New York Times about him) and his wife Tina, who are also running the Historic Shanghai association. The organisation was supported by an army of volunteers, including myself.

The World Congress on Art Deco is promoted by the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies. Started in Miami in 1991, it has grown into a worldwide organisation promoting awarness and preservation of Art Deco architecture and history. The Shanghai Congress brought together people from several cities in the USA and Australia, as well as France, Hungary, and South America. After two congresses in South America (Rio in 2011 and Havanna in 2013), the first congress in Asia really makes the organisation global. For a week, Shanghai was the center of attention for Art Deco lovers and the best place to exchange ideas about it. Although originated from France with the Exposition des Art Decoratifs of 1925, it was so far mostly celebrated in the US as well as Australia / New Zealand. After South America picking up, it is now the time of Europe as Art Deco societies are emerging in European cities, with Paris, Perpignan and Budapest being represented at the congress.
Besides the social aspect, the congress was really a place for discussion on Art Deco from various places. Conferences took place every morning with tours every afternoon, so workload was pretty tough for the ones attending every bit of it.

IMG_2770WCAD 002Being in charge of taking care of the French speaking delegates, we managed to make a small gathering of the French speaking Art Deco delegates. This unplanned event happened at the Cercle Sportif Français (today’s Okura hotel) after the presentation and dinner in the Art Deco ballroom. We took a detour on the old terrace that used to be an open air dance hall and went for a drink. As it should be with French events, it was full of discussion, drinks and Joie de vivre. Art Deco started in 1925 in Paris, so we all dream of making a 2025 Art Deco Congress in Paris to celebrate the 100 years of the exhibition, and maybe one more in another French Art Deco city before that. Lot’s of work in the planning.

WCAD 003From a Shanghai perspective, the real success of the congress was to bring together the largest panel of people interested in Old Shanghai ever. Old Shanghai fanatics all know about each other more or less, but this was a unique opportunity to have most of us together in one place and exchange about our favorite topic. The list was really impressive, including “Old Shanghai rediscoverer” Tess Johnston, Bund and Cathay hotel specialist Peter Hibbard, Shanghai Art Deco architect Spencer Doddington, French Concession specialist Charles Lagrange, Haipai researcher and author of “Shanghai Style” Lynn Pann as well as Shanghai White Russian specialists Katya Knyazeva were among the speakers, and I am surely forgetting some of them. Art Deco Shanghai furniture (and some previously unseen Art Deco Shanghai carpets) where on display, helping to look at Art Deco on various crafts.

The really surprising and maybe most interesting part was to see conferences on topics related to Shanghai, but about which little is known here. They included research about Old Shanghai Department stores on Nanking Road (including Wing On), tracking and giving great details about their roots back to Australia’s department stores. Another great surprise was research about Old Shanghai Chinese architect, including Liu Jipiao, who designed the China pavillon at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs of 1925 and organised the 1st West Lake exhibition in Hangzhou in 1929, modeled after the Paris one. It also included a presentation of Old Shanghai architect Poy Gum Lee, who was part of the team who designed the Chinese YMCA building (today Metropolo hotel on people square) and later continued his career in New York’s China town.

WCAD 004The World Congress on Art Deco could not be over without an Art Deco closing party, that took place at the Art Deco masterpiece, the Sassoon House, host of the Cathay Hotel (today Peace Hotel). This was the opportunity to celebrate in style and to say goodbye to the Art Deco community. See you in Cleveland in 2017 for the next World Congress on Art Deco!

Citron, Art Deco Café

Art Déco Café entrance
Art Déco Café entrance

Art Deco and life in Shanghai being two of my favorite topics, I could not miss the Art Deco design of new CITRON Café on Fumin Lu. I had noticed it while it was still under construction, so I could not stop visiting as soon as I could. The façade of CITRON is very much inspired from Art Deco theaters in the USA, this was a real teaser for me.

Art Deco mirror
Art Deco mirror

Designers have played with the Art Deco codes, giving the place a special feeling. They have added many details, including a large mirror with wrought iron decor (see picture), brick wall (surely not the real wall but still nice) and a large wall painting that is very much 1920’s inspired. They even use Art Deco inspired cutlery, so there was some serious attention to details. The whole inside is themed after the 1930’s Orient Express train, so I am not exactly sure why the place is called Citron… but in Shanghai not everything can always be explained.

Just like in the Orient Express
Just like in the Orient Express

This is a nice design effort, though a little bit of a patchwork. Being in an Art Deco city, I was also expecting some reference to Shanghai own Art Deco, particularly in a location in the former French Concession… but there is not such thing in Citron.

Although still in soft opening, the food was simple but very well done. Particular note for the coffee that was really good. With a great central location, next to other famous establishments, I am sure they will attract many people. Add it a nice Art Deco theme and you can expect to find me there on a regular basis. This is the perfect place to prepare for the World Art Deco Congress in Shanghai in November.

Citron can be found at 291 Fumin Lu, at the cross with Changle Lu

 

Saved from the junk

Art Deco carvings
Art Deco carvings

Having spent many weekends in the old markets a few years ago, I often looked at pieces that most people thought should go straight for the junkyard. Many of these objects are worn out and have not been cared much for, so people where often amazed of what I would actually buy. I had bought think in a derelict state sometime but I have never actually collected anything from the junk.

This changed last week to the total surprise of the old ladies living in my lane. Our old neighbour decided to clean her home and pilled a number of items that were surely directed to rubbish bin. I noticed a particular piece and got it as a gift after some discussion. What actually attracted my attention was the front carving shown in the picture left. This piece of wood is actually the door of a small shelve, that used to sit on the top of a bigger piece of furniture. The style of the carving is clearly art deco, typical 1930’s Shanghai. Since the area I live in was a wealthy place at that time, it probably comes from the neighbourhood, maybe even the original furniture of the house. What is sure is that it was stored outside for a long time, and that our neighbour had had it since she lived here, meaning for decades. She was really surprised when I collected it, I probably thought I wanted to burn it or something like that.

Before and after
Before and after, right and left

After a deep cleaning, some sanding and work on the wood, the original style appeared clearly again. Having barely recovered from the surprise of seeing me collecting this piece from the junk, my neighbour are now seeing a laowai doing some handy work, as I decided to do the job myself. I am sure I have become the topic of conversation for a full week. It took me a while to find the various tools and products needed and it’s still a work in progress. At the end, it should make a nice little Art Deco shelve to store CD and other small items. The kind of things that will fetch a high price in the fancy antique stores of the city.

Art Deco in France

Having long been in love with Art Deco, I have also been asked and wondered why Art Deco is not so recognized in France, my own country and the birthplace of the style. Numerous Art Deco supporting societies first started in the USA and have now extended all over the World, but barely exist in France.  Out of the dozens of association members, only 2 are in France:
The Association Society of Saint-Quentin. Both Saint-Quentin and closeby Reims were devastated during WWI. They were both rebuilt in the 1920’s and 1930’s, when Art Deco architecture was in fashion and both formed the French Art Deco city association. As far as I know, they are the only member. Few pictures from my trip to Reims in 2012 are available at the following location
The Perpignan Art Deco Association, that was founded in… April 2014.
I thoroughly search in both the French and English internet, but they seem to be the only ones so far.

ICADS (International Coalition of Art Deco Societies – www.icads.info) organises an Art Deco World Congress every 2 years. The next one will be in Shanghai in 2015 (see post World Art Deco congress ) for more details.

This lack of enthusiasm for Art Deco in France, and probably in Europe (the only other member of ICADS in Europe is in London) may seem difficult to understand for lovers of the period. My long time in France this summer allowed me to explore this issue. Art Deco is definitely undervalued in France, here are some of the reasons why:

IMG_2390 copy
Batiment Art Deco à Amboise

– There are many other old buildings in France and Europe
Art Deco spread around the world along with industrialisation. For many countries, in particular the USA or Australia, it was the time of cities creation and expansion. Long neglected (like Miami’s Art Deco hotels that only where looked after in the 90’s), Art Deco buildings are often now the oldest buildings in town, making them valuable.
In Europe, they are most often not the oldest buildings by far. The best example is this neglected Art Deco Cafe in Amboise, a renaissance town where surely little time is spent of modern buildings as opposed to 16th century relics next to it.

Art Deco is not that old. The first major Art Deco exhibition in Paris just took place.
The first major art deco exhibition took place in Paris in the beginning of 2014 (see post about the exhibition). There are other museums in France about it, but they are also not that old.

Major building were built out of city centers.
Being a late architecture style, Art Deco was often the style of developments in the suburbs of the cities that where expending at the time. In Paris it is mostly found in outside districts or in close suburbs. Another example is Villeurbanne’s gratte-ciel district that was in the middle of nowhere when it was built.

Gratte-Ciel, public housing in Villeurbanne
Gratte-Ciel, public housing in Villeurbanne

– Architecture of the utilities. Many hospitals, barracks and other administration buildings
Coming at a time of major construction of public buildings, art deco was often used public use and public housing buildings in France, as opposed to earlier styles used for palaces and stylish buildings. This is different from other parts of the World.

It’s “so common”.
The 1920’s and 30’s were a period of intense construction in France, so many example can be found from this period. Not all are really art deco though and not all have great architectural value.

With time passing and interest abroad, Art Deco seems to attract more and more interest in France. The first Paris-based exhibition about this truly first global style will certainly help to create attention to it. Hopefully more fellow French will get interested in it and create Art Deco societies and maybe Art Deco festival equaling the famous one in Napier, new Zealand.

August 2015: There is now a Paris Art Deco Society, that started right at the time of original writing of this article.
Their website is: http://www.paris-artdeco.org/

Representative of the Paris Art Deco Society will join the Shanghai Art Deco Congress. Maybe one day there will be a Art Deco congress in Paris… where it all started

August 2017: World Congress on Art Deco in Paris for 2025 is now firmly in the plan. A large Facebook group has been created that is collecting photos of art deco building and exchanging information (Please follow to find it). A massive exhibition on Bauhaus took place in France connected both styles and the opening of the restored Villa Cavrois in Lille area have boosted the image of Art Deco in France. Art Deco in France and in Europe is clearly on the move.

Shanghai’s Art Deco Master

Art Deco master 001
Book cover

Like a number of those before on Shanghailander.net this book review is a biased one.  Just like “Peace at the Cathay“or “Promenades dans l’ancienne concession Française“, the book was written by friends of mine, in that case Spencer Dodington & Charles Lagrange. Furthermore, I was actually involved in the project itself, though only for a tiny bit. In any case, this books really fills a hole in Old Shanghai studies.

Having lived in Shanghai for about 10 years, and discovering its history and architecture, I long dreamed that somebody put as much efforts into studying work of  French architecture firm “Leonard, Vesseyre & Kruze”, as that was the case for British firm Palmer & Turner and Hungarian architect Laszlo Hudec. It took a team of a Belgian and an American authors to actually deliver in-depth study of the French firm. LVK was a major influence of the architectural style of Old Shanghai and this books truly highlight this heritage, focusing on the life of principal architect Paul Vesseyre.

Thanks to enormous archive research, in-depth knowledge of Shanghai and access to the archives of the Vesseyre family, the authors give a precise account of the early life of the architect, as well as his voyage to Shanghai. Just like contemporay Laszlo Hudec, Paull Vesseyre architecture studies were interrupted by WW1. He then returned to France, taking part of rebuilding one of main French Art Deco cities, Reims before sent by French construction firm Brossard & Mopin to Tianjin, and then Shanghai. He met Alexandre Leonard there, and both created firm Leonard & Vesseyre architects in 1922. Their debut work was the new building of the Cercle Sportif Français on Rue Mercier, today’s Okura Garden Hotel on Maoming Lu. This major work became an anchor of the French Concession and insured the success of the company and both men personal wealth.

Leonard & Vesseyre created most of the modern buildings in the French concession. They worked for the Catholic Church, the municipality and most prolifically for the French developer FONCIM. Major pieces include Béarn and Gascogne apartments on Avenue Joffre (today Huai Hai Lu), the Dauphine and the Boissezon apartments. LV&K was also the designer of the series of neo-normandy style houses aroung Jian Guo Lu and Gao An Lu (see portrait of an old neighbour and further posts on this topic), as well as many buildings in that neighborhood. All of them  and many more are analysed in the book, making it an essential piece of the knowledge and understanding of Old Shanghai. The book is currently only available in English, published by Earnshaw book. A French version in under preparation.

1925, when Art Deco dazzled the World

Exhibition Poster
Exhibition Poster

Last blog post was written about an exhibition of Paris 1930’s art in Shanghai, this blog post is about another exhibition about Art Deco that took place recently in Paris. It is actually long overdue, as the exhibition closed its doors in early March. My long stay in France, gave me the opportunity to see it in Palais de Chaillot (itself an Art Deco master piece) in Paris.

This was the last major exhibition in Paris about Art Deco since 1975, and the 50 years celebration of the “Exposition Internationale des Art Décoratifs” of 1925, from which the Art Deco expression comes. It was designed to commemorate the birth of Art Deco, as well as to show how French Art Deco expended to the World. The new style from the 1920’s, with it’s geometrical and very lean design was a revolution, breaking for the overcrowd of ornaments of the Art Nouveau style. Long before being called Art Deco, it had become the symbol of modernity, celebrating liberation from the madness of WWI. This period is called in French “Les années folles (the crazy years)”, showing the energy and creativity of the period. Being still at that time the World Center for fashion and design, Paris was the center for the creation of this new style before it took off and spread all over the world. Strangely enough, Art Deco style was not considered much valuable for a long time in France, as the country has many much older pieces available. With the years passing, it seems to be in fashion again.

1925 Exhibition Poster

The exhibition was an essential display to understand how this new style invaded all forms of art from architecture and interior design to textile, fragrance, automobile, ships design. In the boiling cultural mix of 1920’s Paris, many people got inspired from it. Ideas and fashion spread fast in the artistic community, with such famous figures as painter Tamara de Lempicka, dancer Josephine Baker, fashion designer Coco Chanel as well as Lalique (whose glass decorations were used for the Cathay Hotel, Peace Hotel today). The new style also greatly influenced the design of large cruse ships, symbol of modernity and travel way before today’s airliners (see post 2 months in rationnaire for details).

I brought back the exhibition catalog (available in French only… how French can that be), but it would be way to large to share here. Searching the internet, I found a nice video about the exhibit that will give the feeling for it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsV5cg2Y19M

The exhibition did not stop at showing Art Deco in France. Although it really does not leave much space for Art Deco in America or in the British Empire (like Art Deco wonders like Napier, New Zealand or Mumbai) the exhibition showed the development of Art Deco in the French colonies. Besides great Art Deco in North Africa and Indochina, I was nicely surprised to find a pavillion dedicated to Shanghai. It mostly focused the work of French architect firm Leonard, Vesseyre and Kruz (more about them soon) forgetting others like Hudec but it was really nice to find a small piece of our city in the exhibition.