maison de Décugis
The beautiful building of Galata Antique Hotel Istanbul was originally built as the winter residence of the french levantine family Décugis. It was built in 1881, one of the oldest stone buildings in Taksim & Pera area build as a mansion.
Monseiur Henri Hypollite Décugis lived here more than 60 years together with his family. He was levatine French businessman - an interesting and well known character in Pera.
His shop ''Constantinople-Pera'' was in Grand Rue de Pera (now the Istikal Avenue) at the first floor of the Botter Apartment, which also one of the most beautiful examples of the art nouveau style buildings in Istanbul. He was selling valuable antiques, porcelains and crystals. He was supposed to be a master in his business and was well known about his business ethics and honesty. His fine porcelains, Christofle silver spoons, knifes and forks, crystal chandeliers were used in the finest places in that time, such as Dolmabahce Palace, Pera Palace Hotel, Markiz Pattiserie.
After the death of his wife, he spent his life in the mansion and shut down all the covers of the windows of the mansion as an expression of his mourning. M. Décugis died in 1942 and his grave is in Feriköy Catholic Cemetery in Istanbul.
Alexandre Vallaury, the talented and remarkable architect of Maison de Decugis. There are some speculations about his nationality but he was supposedly known as French. He was born in Istanbul in 1850 as a son of levantine family. He studied architecture at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was awarded with the French order Légion d'honneur together with many other medals and awards from the French and Ottoman governments.
The mansions of the most prominent families were on Tepebasi and Pera , and the architecture of these buildings were one of the most important part in developing the characteristics of the Taksim, Pera and Galata region in Istanbul. In his approach to architecture, he also used a synthesis of Islam-Ottoman and Neo-Classic styles in the broad sweep of which there was great variety. In some of his designs he used Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Ottoman elements togther with occasional use of motifs from an International Oriental style. In particular, in some buildings he undertook in a Neo-Ottoman style he used details from New Baroque, indeed, even from Art Nouveau.
He had constructed many beautiful monuments in Istanbul. Some of the buildings in Istanbul built by Vallaury are such as: Pera Palace Hotel, Cafè Marquise, Ottoman Bank, Union Francaise, Emek Passage in Istiklal Street, Cemil Topuzlu Pasha Pavillion, Istanbul Lycee, Istanbul Archeology Museum, Buyukada Greek Orphange, Hidayet Mosque in Eminonu, Afif Pasa Waterfront House and Marmara University Faculty of Medicine together with Raimondo D'Aronco.