The GRUIA DUFAUT Law Office supported the Association “Istoria Artei” in publishing the album honoring the French architect Ernest Doneaud

„A renowned American architect, Richard Meier, said that architecture connects the present with the past and the tangible with the intangible. This event gives us the opportunity to make a short trip into the city’s architectural past, as well as in its tangible cultural heritage. It also offers a beautiful perspective on the “intangible” link between Romanian and French cultures”, declared Mrs. Dana GRUIA DUFAUT at the release of the album dedicated to Ernest Doneaud (1879-1959). By courtesy of the French Embassy in Romania and of the Manager of the French Institute, Mr. Christophe GIGAUDAUT, the release of the album was held on Thursday, January 28, 2016, at Villa Noel in Bucharest, which was built after the plans of Ernest Doneaud.

“This veritable Frenchman, born in Romania, educated in Paris, who became a Romanian citizen, is a faithful interpreter of his time. His buildings reflect the architectural styles trending at that time, as well as the exposure of Bucharest to the influence of French architecture (…) the mark left by French influence can be seen in Romanian culture and behavior, in architecture, law, literature. Of course, this influence was not the only one, but it was the strongest and most efficient. For Romanians, France also represented a pathway to success. This pathway still exists and needs to be shown to our contemporaries”, underlined Mrs. GRUIA DUFAUT.

The publishing of the memorial album was supported by the GRUIA DUFAUT Law Office, as well as by other companies and institutions in Romania.

During the event, the book was presented to a wide audience by Mrs. Oana Marinache, from the “Istoria Artei” Association, Mrs. Dana GRUIA DUFAUT and Mrs. Ioana Feodorov, from the “Sanda si Virgul Candea” Foundation.

An outstanding figure of the Bucharest society of the first half of the 20th century, the architect Ernest Albert Léonce Alexandre Doneaud (1879-1959) has a well-deserved place in the history of Romanian architecture.

Born in Bucharest, son of Frenchmen Josef Emile Edouard Doneaud and Louise Manoël, established in Bucharest and owners of a construction company, Ernest studies at the Schewitz-Thierrin Institute for boys before departing for Paris, where he continues his education at the workshop of professor Edmond Jean Baptiste Paulin. In 1907, he obtains the title of diplomat architect and member of the Diplomat Architects’ Society of the French government. Back to the country the same year, he is hired as chief architect of the technical service of the Bucharest City Hall. In 1908, Ernes also obtains Romanian citizenship. His career debuts and develops also thanks to the support of the liberal politician and Mayor of Bucharest, Vintila Bratianu (1867-1930), engineer of the League for Social Housing and of the first subdivision of Lanariei Street, as well as of the “Govora-Calimanesti” company. Doneaud also works of the Ministry of War, during the First World War.

Ernest Doneaud was member of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of the company “Constructia Moderna”, which he presides starting from 1933. In 1927, he is admitted as corresponding member of the Romanian Urban Planners’ Society. Between 1932 and 1936, he is part of the Commission for the systematization of Bucharest, before being appointed architect in the Directorate of the Superior Technical Council.

The first period of his activity is marked by the eclectic architecture of the French school: Doneaud designs several iconic villas (such as Cercul Militar) or other buildings well-liked by Bucharest’s aristocracy of the early 20th century (Nanu-Muscel, Duca, Deșliu, Dănescu, Răuțoiu, Cerkez, Filitti). The elements of the national style are rarely present in his constructions, among which we mention the Visarion Church, the Zaharoff villa, the Strajescu villa and the Palace Royal Hotel. The second period of his career is marked by modernism, when he adopts Art Deco elements. The iconic building, both by its placement on the Magheru Boulevard, and by its dimensions is Lido Palace, subsequently transformed into a hotel.

The album’s text is signed by Dr. Oana Marinache, researcher and art historian. Graphic design: Cristian Gache; photos: Lucian Bărăitaru, Nick Costandache, Iulia Crineanu, Cristian Gache, Oana Marinache, Roxana Mazilu, Cristian Oprea Oeffner, Gabriela Petrescu, Sergiu Sfetcu, Raluca Tănăsescu, Ana Traci; French translation of the foreword: Doina Gheorghe.