The Résidence de France, an architectural work of art of French Art Deco, designed for the imperial Vienna ( 24.6.2011)
There is a persitent as well as unproven rumor of mysterious origin in Vienna, according to which the architectural plans for the construction of the building of the French Embassy at the Schwarzenbergplatz had been mixed up with plans for Constaninople. Or even, according to a less widespread theory, with the architectural plans for Athens.
The in the 1840s built "Palais de France" in Constantinople was till the move to the Turkish capital Ankara in 1923 the headquarters of the diplomatic representation of France. The myth of the reversed plans could have its origin in the fact that the administrator of the Mobilier National Authority in 1912 was simultaneously with the furnishing of both embassies, the one in Vienna and the one in Constantinople, commissioned. Furniture were then, maybe, transported via Vienna to the Turkey.
The Ambassadors of the Republic of France have been previously housed in various rented palaces. The latter was, in the time from 1869 to 1909, the Palais Lobkowitz.
In May 1901, the City of Vienna sold the Republic of France three parcels. The widest part of the trapezoidal plot is adjacent to the then newly designed Schwarzenbergplatz, to the back it is taper-shaped to the direction of theKarlsplatz, where Otto Wagner one of his beautiful city railway stations in Art Nouveau style had built.
George Paul Chedanne, the young architect and the Prix de Rome winner, was then commissioned by the French Foreign Ministry to build the Embassy. After the building of the embassy in Constantinople 60 years ago, this was the first building that has been specifically designed for the accommodation of diplomatic missions of France.
The by the Ministry in 1903 revised plans are based, as is evident from the book on the history of architecture of the Résidence de France in Vienna, strictly adhering to the trapezoidal plan of the ground and the criteria for a worthy representation in the Empire of Austria-Hungary. The classical education of Georges-Paul Chedannes and his predilection for the charm of the Rococo left their mark, but the Vienna Art Nouveau inspired the young architects in particular.
He surrounds himself with the finest craftsmen of his era: Gas, Sicard, Lefebvre, Binet, Dubois, Vernon, Majorelle... Since the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, the art carver and decorator, and avid supporter of the style of Art Nouveau, Louis Majorelle, enjoys an international reputation. His workshop, which today belongs to the "Ecole de Nancy" is commissioned with the implementation of the banister with its spectacular winding tail as well as the gold leaf refined balcony balustrades, the wood panelings and sconces.