In its illustrious heyday, Párisi Udvar epitomised the cultural opulence of the Belle Epoque in Budapest, Hungary.
Inspired by the Passage des Panoramas in Paris, the cathedral-like arcade housed a collection of luxury boutiques and was a popular meeting place for locals.
Built between 1909 and 1911 on the ground floor of the City Savings Bank headquarters, the arcade was famous for its striking hexagonal cupola, elaborate stained glass by Miksa Róth, Luxfer glass prisms patented by Frank Lloyd Wright and mosaic floor tiles by Villeroy & Boch.
The highly decorative exterior was clad with artisanal Zsolnay ceramics and the towers adorned with stone grotesques.
Inspired by an eclectic fusion of architectural styles, German architect Henrik Schmahl commissioned master craftsmen to skilfully merge Moorish, Gothic and Art Nouveau elements into his masterpiece.
After the outbreak of World War I and the ensuing tumult of war and revolution in Hungary, the monumental seven-storey edifice was left in a state of great disrepair.
Although the evocative interior had been used as a location for films and fashion shoots, Párisi Udvar had been abandoned for some time when Archikon was commissioned to restore the building as a 110-room hotel, which is now part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.
PRESERVING THE TREASURES OF THE BELLE EPOQUE
According to the lead architect at Archikon, Csaba Nagy, the overarching aim of the project was to “investigate the original idea and give the passage back to the public”.
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