Y. A. Desprez's Tenement House

Nikolai Galkin / TASS
In 1900, the Desprez family of wine sellers commissioned architect Roman Klein to reconstruct their house at Petrovsky Bulvar (Petrovsky Boulevard). A prominent Moscow architect of the second half of the 19th century, Roman Klein dedicated 20 years of his career to the construction of his principle masterpiece, the Museum of Fine Arts at Volkhonka (now, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts), but at the same time he was one of the most sought-after and prolific architects of his time. Klein was especially popular with merchants and industrialists, and his creations, invariably dressed-up even without the abundance of superfluous details, reflected the spirit of the blooming Moscow, which strove for beauty without excess.

The house of Desprez is not Klein's best-known creation, but like his other works, it is distinguished by the Eclectic style, combining the features of Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau, and by the elaborate elegance of decoration. Back in the times of the Desprez family, the house was not so much known for its architecture as for the ground-floor store, which sold the famous French wines. Even in the Soviet times, the house continued to sweetly smell of wines, as it housed the warehouses of the nearby Samtrest Armenian winery and brandy distillery. The tradition continues, and since 2013, the former house of Desprez has been a home to the champagne bar.