Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur, a flower in Turin
Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur, in Turin, has flowers in the way it sounds – “Lafleur” being the last name of the French entrepreneur who bought the house – as well as the way it looks, as it embraced the “floral style” that became popular in Europe between the XIX and XX centuries.
After hosting the first International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art, in 1902, Turin became indeed the Italian capital of that very floral style – or Art Nouveau, as it would be called later. And Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur is one of the city’s finest examples of this type of architecture: flower-shaped decorations can be seen throughout the building, especially in the top rose-window and in the outstanding corner module.
Built just outside the city center, the Casa was designed in 1902 by Pietro Fenoglio as an aesthetic paradigm of the artistic season of the time, with polychrome glass and intricate wrought iron bow-windows, and a sinuous overhang above the terrace as its most impressive features.
All in all, Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur is a gorgeous, four-storey-tall flower that bloomed at the intersection of two upper-class streets in Turin. But a small plaque reminds us that for years it was also the home of some very poor young people.