January 28, 2011

Aldo Gandini, Maison mosaique/Mosaic decorated house


first two pictures courtesy of Murielle Chevalier, 

Montrouge is a community in the Paris urban area, just across the southern part of périferique ringroad. One would not expect to find there a picassiette-style mosaic decorated house. But there it is, on a lively urban street.

Life and works 

These decorations were made by Aldo Gandini (1910-1985) who was born in Italy  

In 1926 young Aldo, at age sixteen and already trained as a mason, left for France. His father had a job in Paris at the Marcel Conchon firm, a construction company, so Aldo joined him working for that firm, which had its offices and workshops on 127 rue la de République, Montrouge.


Gandini obviously was a good employee since he became a supervisor (chef de chantier). Also, when around 1936 he married Marie-Jeanne Couty, who had a job in the Conchon household, he could obtaine a plot of the firms premises at the corner of the rue de la République and the rue Verdun.

On this plot he began constructng his house, 1 rue Verdun, first only the lower part, later some storeys too.

In 1950, because of an accident,  Gandini had to stop working. Around that time the Conchon construction firm left Paris to resettle in Marocco.

After he had retired from work, Gandini began decorating front- and backside of the house with mosaics. It is quite probable that he started the project just to have something to do.

picture by Daniel Couty, grandson in law of 
mr and mrs Gandini-Couty, from the website Montbouge

The picture above shows the backside of the house. The lady in the background is mrs Gandini.
Aldo Gandini worked on this project for some 25 years, from around 1950 untill 1975.

Making these mosaic decorations of course is a creatively inspired project.  But it has been reported that plastering these mosaics is somehow functional too, becasue this would prevent the rain seeping through the single brick walls.

this and the next picture showing some details
courtesy of Katie Bush (website no longer available)

Gandini died in 1985; his widow passed away some years later. The house was sold in 1994.


About this mosaic-decorated house, which is still extant, not much has been written. Picassiette's work has got much more publicity.

Documentation/more pictures.
* Actually, I could trace just one written primary source on the internet: the webzine Montbouge, for and by inhabitants of the community of Montrouge. It has the story as related to Etienne Lang by mr and mrs Gandini's grandson in law Daniel Couty  (I am pleased to acknowledge, that my note draws on this report);
* More pictures on the weblog  Emaux&Moi authored by Murielle Chevalier
* Weblog Kinette Lamosa (november 2012) has the story and a series of pictures of the mosaics

Aldo Gandini
Maison mosaique
1 rue Verdun
92120 Montrouge, France
frontispice can be seen from the street

Galdini weergeven op een grotere kaart

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