Art Nouveau flower petals on a Chelsea factory

It’s not a factory anymore, of course—working-class Chelsea has long since bit the dust.

But outside the former Hellmuth printing ink building at 154 West 18th Street, the company name still decorates the entrances, with lovely Art Nouveau floral ornamentation in terra cotta above on beside the doorways.

It’s hard to imagine a time when industrial businesses commissioned architects to build inspiring factories and work spaces.

And though the rest of the 8-story Hellmuth building may seem like a pretty typical loft building turned co-op, the two entrances on 18th Street near Seventh Avenue still inspire.

Art Nouveau’s naturalism and curvy lines didn’t take hold in New York the way it did in other major cities in the early 20th century.

But this design style can be found in small pockets of the city, like this Park Row building and this low-rise holdout on a Midtown corner.

[Third photo: Condo.com]

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3 Responses to “Art Nouveau flower petals on a Chelsea factory”

  1. Zoé Says:

    “It’s hard to imagine a time when industrial businesses commissioned architects to build inspiring factories and work spaces.”

    Exactly. Thanks for these posts allowing us to view this beautiful ornamental architecture close up. (Sans racing by on automatic pilot w/ paper coffee cup in hand).

  2. David H Lippman Says:

    Lovely artwork.

  3. Sam Says:

    They may have built them to be inspiring, but I suspect they really put those flourishes on to show off their wealth.

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