Art Nouveau Route

Covilhã being one of the main industrial centers in the country, it has always had a bourgeoisie that easily adhered to new tastes from abroad. That is why it is admitted that many houses had Art Nouveau objects and furniture in their fillings.

In addition, many local carpenters have, for more than half a century, made furniture with Art Nouveau notes. Crockery and dressers, although eclectic in shape, show through the large sunflowers and foliage carved especially in the angles of doors and drawers, the influence of this new style.

As for the constructions, similarly to what happened in the rest of the country, the Art Nouveau manifestations are summarized in notes that are found in the frames of the openings, these almost always oval forming biphors or trophies, the tiles decorations on the grids in balconies, gates and flags.

If buildings such as Palacete Jardim, Club União, Colégio Moderno, Banco Comercial Português Branch in Covilhã or Empresa Transformadora de Lãs are mostly representative of Art Nouveau, there are, briefly scattered throughout Covilhã, brief notes that should not be overlooked. . This is the case of the numerous iron bars on the balconies of many buildings, of dogs that are spread all over the city, stained glass windows that decorate many windows and interiors of homes.

It will be at “Colégio das Freiras”, on Rua Marquês d’Ávila and Bolama that the oldest notes are found that refer to a new aesthetic. Not being able yet to assert themselves as Art Nouveau, they marked a new expressive decorative concept, namely in the sinuosity of the curved line forming geometrical motifs in the flags of the window doors that open to the balconies or in the use of the ceramic elements that form the original plateau. Also the grandeur of the two full-span openings destined to enhance, by lighting, certain rooms come to mark yet another break with the past. It should be noted that this building will have been built, still at the end of the century. XIX or first years of the following century, by Commander Campos Melo.

Hygienism marked an era, materials and architectural solutions that enabled greater health. The interest in materials that facilitate cleaning and allow greater durability has become frequent. Elements such as tiles, ceramic tiles and tiles have become increasingly desirable. Interestingly, if the tile was implanted in Covilhã, the tile was used to cover a large number of buildings. To these was added the glass, preferably colored or hammered, allowing the entry of light and the creation of environments. The marquees made it possible in a different way to use an outer space that became intimate. The marks of this change in architecture are widespread throughout the city and in this sense it can be said that if a first Modernism called Art Nouveau did not have a large implantation in the city with regard to decoration, it had it with regard to structural elements.