|A unique Helsinki residence facade.|
|Finns use a lot of coils.|
|I love that numeral 1.|
|Swans, a characteristic motif of Jugendstil|
|Names of businesses, private homes, and apartment houses offer lots of Jugendstil letters. Complete with their awkward spacing. Note the first 5 letters above.|
We don't see as many examples of this charming letter style in American cities, because our downtown building boom had already come and gone a little earlier, when Gothic Revival dominated late 19th century architecture. Finland also did not share America's 1950's booming prosperity following WWII, which swept away many smaller, older American city neighborhoods that had housed the now out-of-style Art Nouveau. The Finns were actually obligated first to pay war reparations to the Soviet Union. It sounds surreal. Periods of economic stagnation, however, tend to be periods when people make do with older buildings; that's how all those Gothic Revival buildings survived in Boston, and how Jugendstil buildings survived in Finland.
Today dozens of doorways, lintels, and plaques delight the strolling tourist in Helsinki. Only one kind of passerby is immune to the charms of Jugendstil. Check next week's post to find out who, and why.