Art Deco “Junkers JU 52” airplanes on the wall

The Romanian early c20th and inter-war aviation, both civil and the air forces, had great traditions and achievements in terms of airline companies connecting the country with the rest of Europe, manufacturing of excellent flying machines, both of domestic and under foreign licence design, and more than honourable results during the First and the Second World Wars. That is in sharp contrast with its pathetic state today after five decades of inefficient communist industrialisation and two decades of rapacious crony capitalism.

I was really enchanted to find the wall rendering, presented in the photographs bellow, of passenger airplanes from the Art Deco era of Bucharest. The panel is in an area of the city where the streets are named after famous pre-war and wartime pilots. It depicts aircraft with three front engines, a feature that was the hallmark of the German made “Junkers JU 52” airplane, an iconic machine that appeared in numerous visual arts representations from that period. The airplane was part of the fleet of the then Romanian airlines and very popular among the local public. I like the representation of these flying machines together with a flock of swallows, thus highlighting the quest of the modern industries of that era to reach the perfection of the nature. Also, at a closer look, one can see there quite subtle references to the Art Deco style’s rule of three in the three birds making up the swallow flock and also most interestingly in the three propeller engines of the JU 52 aircraft.

The nice impressions conveyed by this panel are unfortunately severely dampened by the home “improvements” made by the contemporary proprietors of this edifice, who drilled a hole through the panel just to make way for an unsightly air conditioning pipe or left old telephone cables hanging carelessly over the composition, all together  a telling expression of the terrible low level of culture and disregard for the city’s identity and heritage  displayed by a majority of Bucharest’s today inhabitants.

Art Deco airplane (Junkers-52) motif wall rendering, house from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)
Art Deco airplane (Junkers-52) motif wall rendering, house from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)
Art Deco airplane (Junkers-52) motif wall rendering, house from the mid-1930s, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)


I endeavour through this daily series of articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.


If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.


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