Art Nouveau (French: art nouveau, lit. “new art” is an art style that appeared in France at the end of the 19th century (1890-1914). The style quickly became popular: artists and designers began to use it in architecture, home decor, and jewelry. An important feature was the fact that artists refused to use elements of past styles in art Nouveau, they sought to create a completely new, original word in art.
“New art” quickly spread across Europe thanks to illustrated magazines and international exhibitions; the style also reached America. Designers and artists believed that the artistic style could be unified and brought into harmony: buildings, textiles, furniture, jewelry, clothing – everything had to match each other.
“Art Nouveau translates from French as “new art”. In different countries, the style was called differently: “Modernism” – in Italy,” Liberty ” – in Spain,” Jugendstil “in Germany, and in Eastern Europe, mixed with other styles and had a single name – “Modern”.”
Important! Don’t confuse art Nouveau and art Deco-these are two different styles that are strikingly different from each other. The first photo shows art Deco, which will replace art Nouveau in 30 years, with clear lines and strict geometry. On the second – the style you are reading about now:
Art Nouveau: characteristic features of the style
- Wavy lines, intricate outlines;
- Ornaments in the form of climbing plants, shells, peacock feathers;
- Asymmetry of forms;
- Arches and openings;
- stained Glass Windows;
A distinctive feature of this style is a huge number of wavy asymmetric lines, which often take the form of flower stems and buds, insect wings, and other writhing natural elements. These lines were found in almost every detail of the style: furniture, Windows, daylight openings, decoration. Often they were also found in stucco.
The desire for nature was also expressed through flowers: in art Nouveau, they are everywhere. The most popular flowers are lilies, irises, orchids, this was due to the growing interest in everything exotic at the beginning of the 20th century.
Geometric figures were considered by modernists to be the product of man, praising asymmetry, the true creation of Nature. In a room created according to the canons of art Nouveau, it must be curved, asymmetric-an opening or arch, the back of a sofa, or a dressing table.
Another feature of this style is the arched shape.
Art Nouveau in the interior: decoration and materials
- Wood with exquisite texture,
- Stone and tiles made of stone,
- Forged products,
- Colored glass,
- Expensive fabrics (brocade, velvet, etc.).
Wrought iron was used very often: for stair railings, window bars, furniture, and decorative elements. At that time, mosaics, enamels, gilding, and copper and brass coinage were no less common in decoration. Art Nouveau was able to breathe airiness and lightness into heavy metal structures.
The floor covering is parquet or its imitation. The Board can be light in color with dark patterns in the form of smooth lines. Art nouveau rug with characteristic patterns and plant decorations are also used.
For the art nouveau bathroom and kitchen in the Art Nouveau style, tile or granite that imitates parquet is suitable. Wood is used not only for parquet-they cover the walls, create openings. Stone tiles can be used both in the kitchen and in the bathroom, and this is welcome when the wooden floor “flows” into the stone.
The colors of decorative wall coverings are soft and do not differ in high brightness. In the dawn of the era, patterned Wallpaper was popular. Modern design solutions often provide an ornament only on one or more walls. The other walls of the room have a color that harmonizes with the tones of the decor. The same solution is suitable for the kitchen and bathroom. Only tiles should be used as a finish.
Another option of facing is decorative plaster with plant motifs. It looks presentable, you can choose the desired color. Marble plaster will glimmer mysteriously in any light.
Another important element for art Nouveau is stained glass, which has become extremely popular and was used for window decoration, wall decoration, furniture, and accessories.
Most of the furniture was made of wood. Items were decorated with floral ornaments and stained glass. The headboards of the beds and the backs of the chairs were often curved. The chairs had high backs, while the tables, on the contrary, were low and most often were decorated with a tabletop made of colored glass. The main rule: Art Nouveau furniture looks as if frozen in a dance.
As for the fabrics, the curtains can be given an asymmetric appearance. It is fine if the curtains create the illusion of glass and if they consist of many fragments.
Shades and art nouveau lighting
The most commonly used colors are mustard yellow, dark red, olive, brown, sometimes blue, and purple. At this time, muted shades were very much appreciated – the color of a faded rose, tobacco colors, pearl-gray, gray-blue, dusty lilac tones.
As we can see, the palette is quite wide, but it remains inside the natural colors. In the art Nouveau interior design, there are combinations of white, cream, and sand colors with the color of grass, leaves, stones, wood, and earth tones. This desire for nature relaxes a person, highlights the best floral ornaments. However, there were also bright colors, such as peacock or gold accents.
The main lighting involves the device of a luxurious and quite large suspended art nouveau chandelier, corresponding to the rest of the decorative elements of the situation. If the size of the room does not allow you to use a bulky chandelier, it can be replaced with a round crystal pendant lamp or a product in the form of interlacing stems and buds of plants, as well as a ceiling lamp made of translucent glass with small elegant pendants.
To divide a room into functional zones or draw everyone’s attention to particularly attractive interior details, use additional types of lighting. The most advantageous in this case look sconces and art nouveau table lamps with large lampshades, or designed in the form of twisting rods of shiny metal, with elements of refined air forging, gilding, glass, and crystal decor.
It is important to keep the proportions: for a spacious room, you should choose a large-sized chandelier, and for a small and cozy-a small one. At the same time, the chandelier does not take a dominant position in such an interior but complements the overall decor.
Decorative elements of art Nouveau
Art Nouveau technique is so picturesque that, in fact, it does not require a lot of third-party details. When decorating a house that is already decorated with elements that are contained, in fact, in the style, it is important not to overdo it with small things. Large, colored glass vases, antique clocks, and a painting by a true master will fit well into the decoration. Just a few vintage nuances (an old photo or a candlestick, and art nouveau patterns) will emphasize the history of the style, its origins.
In the art Nouveau era, the common staircase in residential buildings turned from a dark and dreary place to a beautiful and brightly decorated part of the interior. It was during this period that architects began to increase the number of Windows in houses, which provided stairs with a lot of natural light (before the modern era, the staircase was in a closed area without Windows).
Designers also turned their attention to art nouveau windows: rectangular, elongated up, often with a rich floral decor, sometimes arched, “shop Windows” – wide, like showcases. Art Nouveau doors are rectangular, often arched. Brightly decorated, with a mosaic pattern, flat shape.
Art Nouveau-an elegant and very light style in the interior is not suitable for everyone. It has a lot of soft, smooth lines, it is preferred by tender, creative, romantic natures, and those who strive to be closer to nature.
“Real” Art Nouveau seems a bit redundant to the modern reader. If you choose this style, do not paint each wall, try to paste the appropriate Wallpaper only on one – leave the rest white. Add furniture in this style or fancy Windows – but let the colors be neutral. Add plants and stained glass windows and your house will become the most elegant and fabulous in the area.