Art Nouveau is the new art. The trend emerged in the 1990s. It was developed in the 19th century and spread until about 1905 in Europe and the US. The style found its expression in interior designs, clothing, decorations. The name comes from the French language and was most popular in France. The style was also called Art Nouveau, which means departure. He has made his mark on arts and crafts, interior design, sculptures and prints. Over time, national variations of the style emerged.

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Art Nouveau in architecture and interiors

Art Nouveau delighted in its delicacy and originality. Features of Art Nouveau were supple, flowing lines and rich ornaments, mostly floral and animal. The structures of the objects were defined, and the forms were abstract. Art Nouveau accepted machine production, but did not cut itself off from handicraft, which was unique, valuable, precious. Buildings from this time are innovative in design and richly decorated. Elongated lines and floral motifs adorn the buildings, giving them a unique character. Examples of Art Nouveau can be found throughout Europe, and there is no shortage of them in Poland either.

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The Art Nouveau style still has adherents because of its delicacy, fluidity, unique beauty. Art Nouveau decorations are rich, delicate, full of spirals and geometry. The stairwells were the centerpiece of the buildings. They were decorated lavishly. Art Nouveau created stained glass windows, lamps, balustrades and other decorative elements from metal and glass. The Art Nouveau style was used to build the building of the Banking House in Warsaw, the Palace of Art in Cracow, and the Tchaikovsky Theater. Cyprian Kamil Norwid in Jelenia Gora, the Esplanada department store in Lodz designed by Alfred Furuhjelm, a Finn by origin. It is impossible not to mention such famous buildings in other countries as Casa Mila in Barcelona or the Secession Pavilion in Vienna. Art Nouveau furniture is wooden, quite massive, decorated with rich ornaments, often floral. Art Nouveau interiors were richly decorated, decorated with taste, full of glass, metal and wood.

art nouveau architectural style
Photo: The magnificent Art Nouveau architectural style of Antonio Gaudi’s “Casa Vicens”

Elements characteristic of Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau is a very distinctive style, breaking with historicism and classicism, unique. Its creators used asymmetry, applied dynamic lines inspired by plants and flowers, and operated with very subtle colors. Glass surfaces were shiny, mirrors were hung everywhere, and cabinet doors were glazed. Arabesques of flexible lines decorated furniture and upholstery fabrics. Wrought iron balustrades in delicate patterns decorated houses and staircases. Vegetable branches, flowers stylized as fairy tales were decorations for chairs, table legs or picture frames. Art Nouveau painting was lyrical, full of floral and plant elements. The art nouveau style was also used to create jewelry and clothing. It was to be omnipresent in every area of human life. Art Nouveau architecture and Art Nouveau decoration became the determinants of this design and architectural trend. Bright, pastel colors reigned supreme, often oranges, yellows, browns, golds. Deep green, burgundy, navy blue and purple were also sometimes used. Darker colors were often featured on stained glass windows. The most famous example of Art Nouveau was the paintings of Gustav Klimt, a representative of Viennese Art Nouveau. The paintings featured slender women with long hair.

Art Nouveau in Riga,
Photo: beautiful Art Nouveau style staircase in Riga, Latvia

Art Nouveau style furniture and decorations

Art Nouveau style decorations and Art Nouveau furniture adorned the interiors of homes and apartments of the wealthy and influential. The decorations depicted fire, water, reeds, lilies and floods. The fabrics were painted with roes, thistles and roses. There was also no shortage of irises, chrysanthemums, and nenuphars. The jewelry was decorated with dragonflies, snakes, peacocks and butterflies. Chimeras, nymphs and dragons appeared in architecture. The lamps and candlesticks immortalized the mythical Medusa wearing a crown of snakes.

art nouveau building
Photo: Radiokafka

Art Nouveau in today’s interiors

Today, the motifs of this style can be seen in upholstery fabrics and the way furniture is decorated. The soft, pastel color scheme, with gold accessories, is also a reference to this style.

Art Nouveau
Photo: Depositphotos

The importance of Art Nouveau in art and culture

It is impossible to forget this trend – it was present in the literature known as Young Poland, in architecture, interiors, and in the clothes of women, who were finally able to show themselves without corsets, in narrow, fitted dresses. Decorations, jewelry and clothing were designed in the Art Nouveau style. Paintings by Wyspianski, Klimt, Alphonse Mucha have become part of art history and continue to delight viewers. Dresses and footwear that reference the style can still be found in stores. Townhouses adorned with sculptures and richly decorated staircases are flagship examples of this style, inspiring modern architects and designers.

art nouveau fashion
Photo: Art Nouveau fashion

Tips for Art Nouveau lovers

Fans of this style can find copies of paintings by famous painters, buy furniture that is original or inspired by this trend, find richly decorated mirrors, candle holders or stands for newspapers or umbrellas on the market. It is not necessary to decorate the entire apartment in this style. Just a few elements and a typical style color scheme are enough to create a unique design effect.

Art Nouveau elements
Photo: Art Nouveau elements in an old mansion


The Art Nouveau style left its mark on later architectural and design styles. It delights with its beauty, subtlety, delicacy of lines, colors. Plant motifs were used in various styles, but in Art Nouveau they took on a somewhat fairy-tale-like, unreal shape. Nowadays , Art Nouveau still delights and takes us back to the turn of the century, allowing us to immerse ourselves in history and gloat over the beauty of objects in this style.

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