Art Nouveau architecture.
Updated: July 13, 2020
Art Nouveau in Sacramento Interior Design
Art Nouveau is a unique style that is rarely rivaled – those beautiful swirling lines, unrestrained aesthetics, and timeless look – it is simply one-of-a-kind. This style first came into existence in the 1880s, yet on the advent of World War I, it started to disappear from architectural features.
Yet Art Nouveau is a lot more than the expression of designers and artists of a new style. It can also be found in the beauty of nature and, ironically, also the expression of anxiety among these art masters. If you see violent lines and curves, then you are looking at the artists’ expressions of fear. There was so much pressure to look for something different at the time so Art Nouveau was both a relief and a form of rebellion.
Leadlight, more popularly known as stained glass, became quite common during this movement. Architects from the Australian federation used decorative lead lights on bay windows, front doors, fanlights, fire screens, cabinets, and interconnecting doors. The flowing art that is characteristic of Art Nouveau is everywhere.
This style was a reaction to the 19thcentury designs showing so much of history, especially Neo-Classicism. Art Noveau pushed the idea of design and art being crucial parts of everyday living.
Artists, from then on, did not overlook the simplicity in everyday objects. To them, aesthetics were added to make the functional more visually pleasing. New Art is Art Noveau and it was applied in all forms of art including architecture, applied art, fine arts, and decorative art.
Art Noveau was partially rooted in the Industrial Revolution, also the Arts and Crafts Movement. It also shows Japonism influence especially the Ukiyo-e prints brought about by great minds like Hokusai and Hiroshige.
Celtic designs were also common.
After the 1900 Exposition Universelle held in Paris, France Art Noveau spread across the European continent, even to Australia and the U.S. The Italian name for it in Italy is Stile Liberty, in Austria, it is known as Sezessionstil, and in America, it is called Tiffany style.
Art Noveau as Style, Not Philosophy
Wesley Allen Bar Stool is an example of Art Nouveau furniture.
Art Noveau is perceived as a style more than being a philosophy. This is a style that wanted to break free from the bonds of historicism. It sought to bring about a fresh analysis of natural forms, functions, and aesthetics. Some see it as useless patterns but once you see the art with your artistic eyes, you are bound to see a marvelous sequence that was never before noticed.
Art Noveau represents many different moods and looks. We can be reminded of the gentle breeze, of the harshness of the stormy waters, you can even just see ornate vegetation. Everything is organic, though, as this style focuses on making sense out of life’s order.
Art Noveau Characteristics
If you are trying to look for a single definition for this style, then you will be looking in vain. There isn’t a single definition for it. It has, however, several distinguishing factors.
Art Noveau is all about the application of art into everyday living. No stuff is too functional or beautified.
Art Noveau also thinned the line between the principles of fine arts, decorative art, and applied arts. This style is a beautiful reaction to the concise mathematical representations of the Neo-Classical era.
Art Noveau also presented a fresh graphic design language. It has gone far from the classical models that were embraced by art academies in the past. There are various stylistic interpretations for Art Noveau. There are artists that prefer low-cost materials while others give value to high craftsmanship.
Art Noveau features flat yet decorative patterns that can be employed in many forms of art. Typical elements include tendril, leaves, the curvaceous shape of a woman, and other organic forms.
When it comes to architecture, architect Antoni Gaudifrom Spain exaggerated the bulbous forms. Hector Guimard, on the other hand, gave the world his stylistic Parisian Metro entrances.
This style has two distinct looks that you need to keep in mind – the linear look propagated by artists like Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the beautiful, elongated lines. Other features include vertical lines to highlight height and the whiplash line.
Flowers, peacock feathers, spider webs, thistles, and locusts were found on wallpaper, accents, and many furniture pieces. Iridescent glass, exotic woods, semi-precious jewels, and silver were also the distinct materials that represented Art Noveau.
Art Noveau furniture is renowned for the high-backed chairs and the glossy black lacquer finish. Conservative options included curvy shapes, floral fabrics, and upholstered items. Glassworks also came in the opaque matter and precise etchings. Silver and pewter also dominated much of the ornaments.
Period colors for Art Noveau are always elegant yet subtle. Say yes to sage, brown, olive, mustard, gold, shades of purple, salmon, peacock blue, and robin’s egg blue.
Art Nouveau Designs from Then Till Now
Art Nouveau generated a lot of graphic artists, décor enthusiasts, and architects throughout Europe. This style came with a wide variety of choices and it eventually became known as Jugendstil in Germany or the Glasgow Style.
Art Nouveau’s aim was to modernize design in general. It sought to break free from the eclectic historical designs that have been popular back in the day.
Artists saw inspiration in many geometric and organic forms, thus, evolving from classic designs. This evolving style emphasized the natural forms of furniture pieces that resembled the blossoms and stems of plants.
Art Nouveau design also highlighted the linear contours which took over hues. This is usually represented in yellows, muted greens, blues, and browns.
The Art Nouveau movement was geared to abolish the common art hierarchy. Sculpture and paintings in the so-called liberal arts became superior to decorative pieces.
Art Nouveau also had its fair share of tests. It went out of fashion before the First World War which paved the way for Art Deco. Art Nouveau experienced a huge revival in the 60s which why it is now seen as the predecessor of modernism. Art Nouveau may be found in a lot of historic villas and homes yet modern-day homes also beautifully preserved this style. This design can be infused into the architectural design of your home but just make sure that there are still some fresh and contemporary elements for balance.
Art Nouveau may also be short-lived décor-wise but this is one innovative style that is difficult to ignore. Those curves and swirly lines are just so dynamic, full of tension and an ornamental force to reckon with.
Apart from the still prevalent stained glass, there are other interior design elements that reflect the beauty of Art Nouveau. Take, for instance, the floor tiles that show organic yet intricate patterns. These patterns go all the way up to the walls then through windows. To finish off this look, an Art Nouveau framed mirror can be used.
Wall tiles can also show a wallpaper-like texture. If you’re thinking of adding dimensionality to flat walls, then this is the go-to style. Art Nouveau tiles use combinations of colors and often have reflective surfaces. These very same surfaces can also cast shadows, hence, your home becomes a zone of various shades and tones.
Don’t stop on your walls if you really want to embrace the Art Nouveau style. The patterns can be taken all the way to the ceiling. They can serve as stucco relief or a beautiful trompe l’oeil (three-dimensional pattern).
If you want to go the extra mile, then do so with a custom mantel or fireplace. Keep in mind that this style is a breakdown of sculpture, decorative arts, and architecture. Iron railings are also common. Picture the Paris Metro by Hector Guimard. This urban project was created during the Paris Exposition. In his work, he wonderfully fused organic forms and technology paving the way for fabricated iron.
Front entrance awning is also big on Art Nouveau. The Paris Metro entrances show fan-shaped iron and glass awnings but with opaque paneling. The beauty of this artwork does not end here. The paneling is also decorated with florals.
Now wouldn’t your front door be a feature to behold with such an awning?
Apart from florals, peacocks have also been one of the preferred Art Nouveau patterns. This bird symbolizes beauty and opulence which are both fitting reasons to include them as Art Nouveau. Even wallpapers have peacock patterns which can be effectively contrasted with pops of yellow (a very fashionable color for 2017).
Decadent yet extremely beautiful, the textures have also been taken to painted murals. The peacock, when used ineffectively could also become the symbol of vanity and pride so you might want to be a little careful with its use.
Modern Key Features
The deep desire to break away from the historical features of the 19th century was a crucial motivation behind Art Nouveau. This also prodded the establishment of modernism.
Industrial production was widespread during that time yet decorative art was then increasingly being dominated by mass-produced stuff that imitated earlier periods.
Art Nouveau artists also sought the revival of excellent workmanship to raise the status of crafts.
Art Nouveau also dominated the academic system from the 17th until the 19th centuries. This underpinned the belief that sculpture and painting were superior to ironwork and furniture design. Artists overturned the said belief as they aspired to create an art totality or the so-called Gesamtkunstwerks.
This movement then narrowed the gap between fine arts and applied arts. Whether or not this gap has been completely closed is a matter of debate these days.
Art Nouveau and the Table Lamp
Table lamps are a few of the most renowned Art Nouveau pieces that have been produced. An example is a lamp with a bronze base that mimics the lower trunk as well as the roots of a tree. It comes with a glass shade that appears like the shade of a Wisteria tree. You can mimic such elements in your home design Sacramento.
Art Nouveau Design Elements
There isn’t a single definitive feature for Art Nouveau. That comes as a huge relief to many homeowners since this gives them a leeway to embrace just the distinguishing elements and then they can be themselves.
Art Nouveau is a philosophy that favors the application of artistic designs to everyday stuff. No single object was too functional to be glamorized.
Art Nouveau is also the separation of fine art and applied/decorative arts. So this is a distinction between sculptures and painting from furniture, ceramics, and other practical elements.
In line with the belief that Art Nouveau style is an art in everyday life, you can employ decorative patterns in all forms of art that you can think of. Use tendril and leaf motifs, even intertwined organic features, curves, also right angles.
Both the stained and varnished versions of hardwood are huge with Art Nouveau. You could also go big with colorful and Oriental rugs.
Say yes to Tiffany lamps as well as stained glass windows. These create an authentic Art Nouveau ambiance.
As for colors, it is a matter of personal choice. Just as long as you keep it fairly light while being enigmatic. Use browns, sage greens, lilacs, and shades of mustard.
For your Art Nouveau fine furniture, incorporate leaves, stylized flowers, roots, and buds. If you want to learn more about Art Nouveau and how you can apply it to your Sacramento interior design, you may claim your complimentary design advice on our Designer on Demand feature.