The building principals and architect of the Villa Langmatt
The Villa Langmatt was founded in 1899–1901 on a site known as the “lange Matte” by the architect Karl Moser (1860–1936) for the married couple Sidney and Jenny Brown-Sulzer. The architect hailed from Baden, and ran an architecture firm jointly with Robert Curjel (1859–1925) in Karlsruhe. In Karl Moser, the Browns had engaged a notable architect who is today considered to be a major exponent of Swiss modernist architecture.
The Villa Langmatt in the Baden context
Prior to Langmatt, Karl Moser had built two villas in Baden for the company founders of Brown, Boveri & Cie. (today known as ABB): the Villa Boveri (1896/97) and – close by – the Römerburg for Charles E.L. Brown (1897/98, demolished in 1957). His buildings laid the foundation for the rise of the Basel villa quarter, which, during this period, became a centre of progressive Swiss architecture.
The many styles of the Villa Langmatt
The original villa united various stylistic elements, such as the English country house and the German Art Nouveau style, on a modern floor plan. The original interior fittings were created by Karl Moser and by the German ceramicist Max Laeuger (1864–1952) – including the fountain in the cafeteria, which remains today. The villa’s systems are also interesting, such as the fully-preserved bath dating from 1901 (on the first storey). For the picture gallery, which is also built by Karl Moser (1906), the Browns chose a style with a rather classicist quality. The 1920s ushered in a phase of comprehensive “Gallicisation”, particularly in the villa’s interior fittings.
The park-like garden complex was laid out circa 1900 by Curjel and Moser, in collaboration with the garden architect Otto Froebel (1844–1906). They were based on English models, and have been changed and altered several times. In particular, French stylistic elements were added in the 1920s. In 1941, structural redesigns to the garden largely came to a halt. Today, the garden is planted according to historic conservation principles.