The facade of the Bedő House is also special, it is ornamented by asymmetrical, closed balconies, and colourful
terracotta flowers (also made by Zsolnay). The forms of the windows are different on each floor (the kidney-shaped
windows decorating the facade looking at the quadrangle are considered to be unique, just like the colourful
windowpanes made by Herzl decorating the whole house or the turret on the roof).
Vidor not only designed spacious, 300 square metre apartments, but also built small sized single rooms a half
story higher in the back of the building. These rooms were rented by single men. The winter garden decorated with
a fountain also belonged to the house. Those who wished to visit the top floor had to be fit because there
was no elevator in the building.
The Alfred Hajós Story
As every newspaper the Art Nouveau also had its own opposition. Alfred Hajós, the first Hungarian Olympic
champion, a swimmer turned architect who designed the Alfred Hajós National Swimming Pool that is located on
the Margaret Island also belonged to them. (Albeit at the beginning of his career he worked in Lechner's office
too, and his first buildings – for exapmle the Golden Bull Hotel in Debrecen – were also designed in Art Nouveau
style.) The designer office and apartment of Alfred Hajós, who was also known for being an amiable and friendly
man, was on the second floor of the building standing across from the Bedő House. He wasn't easily ruffled,
but according to this story Vidor Emil had succeeded in raising his ire. Allegedly, every morning Alfred Hajós
was bellowing over to the construction site of the Bedő House demanding the workers to demolish the hideous
Nevertheless the building was completed and survived World War II, the siege of Budapest, the street fights
of '56 and until 2000 it waited for its reconstruction in a highly damaged state. At that time the residents
of the building have contacted Tivadar Vad who, by then, have finished the restoration of several buildings in
He was for decades an enthusiastic admirer of the Art Nouveau style thus he happily decided to undertake the
reconstruction. As Adél Szakács Vadné manager of the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau relates a local government
tender was called for the use of the almost 600 square metre room downstairs. They were the only candidates and
they have won the right to rent the room, and by now they became the proprietors as well. At the beginning of
the 20th century the room belonged to an antique shop, and later on a carpentry mill opened there. Later it
belonged to the kitchen of National Association of Co-Operatives, then the classrooms of the Hungarian Tourism
College occupied the building. Based on old photographs during the reconstruction they constructed a wooden-frame
shop-front matching the original one. The architect husband's love of Art Nouveau influenced the wife as well:
both of them became avid collectors of the style. This is known all over Europe and if somewhere a beautiful
piece surfaces then the antique shops and auction houses contact them.
Famous foreign and Hungarian artists
Nowadays on three floors of the building we can get an insight into the lives of the wealthy or less well-to-do
citizens who lived a hundred year ago. The internal spaces and furniture defining their everyday lives: the
parlour, the bedchamber, the dining hall, the furniture, the cutlery, the chandeliers, mirrors, vases,
sponge-baths, small figurines, covers and paintings... Albeit the showing pieces were made in different
countries of Europe (England, The Czech Republic, Germany or others), the exhibition presents a harmonious
unity. Naturally the emphasis is given to the works of Hungarian artists. For example, among the exhibited
pieces there are a sideboard by Endre Thék, a chair by Károly Kós, a writing desk by Ede Wigand Thoroczkai.
The original family who had the bulding built was also considered to be great art collectors. The first owner's son,
Rudolf Bedő was especially well-known for this fact and also conducted research in art history. He collected
graphics and the works of artists from Nagybánya, besides the works of Csontváry and Rippl-Rónay. Though
his son, the recently deceased Gábor Bedő did not enrich the collection but preserved it.
But the exhibited pieces do not come from their collection. The outstanding collection of the museum is wholly
the result of the collector work of Tivadar Vad and his wife. With its Art Nouveau style tables, chairs, covers
and china the ground floor coffee house recalls the atmosphere of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The exhibition
is worthy of our attention and time.
Original text by Erzsébet Balázs
The article was published in the Barátság periodical, v. 16, n. 6, pp. 6270 and was written by