I’M NOT AN ARCHITECT. (“Duh,” said you, and me, and literally everyone I have ever met or spoken to or even glanced at). But I am someone who spends way too much time looking at old houses on the internet, and today I want to introduce you to my all-time favorite type of architecture: Art Nouveau. It’s going to be a pretty high level overview, but I’d love to hear from some trained architects in the comments if anyone would like to expound!!!
Here’s the deal: Art Nouveau was a FLASH IN THE PAN. It came out of nowhere in the 1890s and it was florid and futuristic and sculptural – in modern terms, it’s kind of like The Hobbit meets Vogue. Art Nouveau picked up steam and spread across the globe for 20 years like wildfire, but its ornate aesthetic was too expensive to justify during the First World War. Instead, we saw the rise of Art Deco, which was a simple and streamlined version take on Art Nouveau – deco’s geometric shapes and straight lines were more affordable to produce than all of nouveau’s whiplash curves. BUT THAT’S ENOUGH HISTORY (for now, at least), LET ME SHOW YOU A BUILDING!
PS. There’s no Gaudi in this post because (a.) he’s already world-renowned and (b.) less famous places from my incredibly dense Pinterest board deserve some shine, too. I’ll link up some of his work at the bottom if you want to explore more in this style, though. OKAY NOW HERE’S A BUILDING!
WOW WOW WOW. Y’all, welcome to the Hotel Tassel (not actually a hotel, tragically – just a townhome that bears the name of its former owner) in Brussels, which is coincidentally the #1 spot on my travel list. The home was built in 1893 by an architect named Victor Horta – we’re gonna see a lot of his work later – and when it was unveiled, it literally BROKE PEOPLE’S BRAINS. No one had ever seen anything like this – it was like a period-appropriate art had come to life on a massive scale (scroll through this primer really quickly and you’ll be like “oh my gosh, art really DID inspire this architecture!”).
There are a few classic motifs that we’re gonna be looking for over and over as we stare at all of these photos – exotic woods, luxe stones, detailed mosiac tiles and frescoed walls, stained glass, curved metals, and lots of unexpected and organic whiplash curves. Let me show you one more of my all-time favorite storefronts before we get into the nitty gritty…
WHEW. I love this story! This 1896 shopfront in Brussels sat abandoned for years before a florist named Daniel Ost was like, “hey, I’m going to fix this.” And, I mean, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Box checked. I can’t really think of a more idyllic setting, can you? Art Nouveau was really big on embracing art and beauty in everyday life and it just feels fitting and fascinating to see that ethos celebrated and maintained nearly 130 years later. (Also, word on the street is that the Belgian royal family gets their flowers here, which is pretty neat.) OKAY. Now that we know what we’re looking at, buckle up, pals – I’m about to walk you through a few of my favorite nouveau architectural features…starting with entrances, OF COURSE 🙂
Let me set the scene: this residence (29 Avenue Rapp, in case you want to add it to your bucket list) is a 10 minute jaunt from the Eiffel Tower. It was built in 1901 and the home was super controversial at the time – turns out that a lot of folks in the neighborhood weren’t super jazzed about a seven-story building covered with partially and/or fully nude figures – but it actually ended up winning an award for the city’s most beautiful façade later that year, so things worked out. This is actually still an occupied apartment building – like, can you believe people get to LIVE here?! UNREAL.
There’s just something about these entries that’s freakin’ magical, right? That door on the left is located in Barcelona. I know it’s hard to tell from this angle, but even the glass is etched! This saturated palette is unbelievable, too. (Who knew pistachio, cobalt, and hot orange could look so good in such a tight space? If you’re in need of some color inspiration, I highly recommend searching for “art nouveau interiors” on Pinterest – so many fresh and unexpected combinations!)
And get ready to have your mind blown: this home on the right is a NEW(…-ish) CONSTRUCTION. Take a minute and scroll down through all of the shots of the interior and exterior right here – everything in this home has maxed out form AND function. It’s all decorative without being super austere or intimidatingly formal – like, there’s a certain amount of fun that’s imbued by this architecture style, if that makes sense. I’m FASCINATED.
GAH. Another Barcelona gem, guys! This one is the Casa Comalat and it’s the kind of thing Disney princess dreams are made of. Every single thing in this photo was so thoughtfully designed – the floor moulding! The gradients on the doors and casing! That stained glass! The wall treatment! That ceiling moulding! And do you see that super thin gilded line on all of those recessed cutouts on the door? MASTERFUL. I love old houses, guys!!!
Windows + Floors
Next up: ALL TYPES OF WINDOWS. This building on the left is in the heart of Mexico City – it was actually constructed in 1899 as a department store (gotta say, probably a good thing stores no longer look like this becuse I would ~bankrupt~ myself), but it’s now the site of the Gran Hotel. The ceiling was actually imported from France (!!!) and that big tube back there was the first iron and concrete elevator in Mexico City, which is SO FREAKIN’ COOL. Added bonus: only big nerds like me (and maybe you?) are THIS excited about imported Tiffany ceilings, so there’s not a ton of hype around the hotel and it’s pretty shockingly affordable. SHOULD WE ALL GO???
And if that formerly-abandoned department store on the right looks familiar, it’s because it’s actually the real-life set of The Grand Budapest Hotel. (Get some glimpses in the trailer right here – the transformation is pretty incredible.) Fun personal fact: I told the man I have a huuuuge crush on that I was gonna be blogging about Art Nouveau architecture and HE was the person who actually flagged this location for me – is this a green flag or the world’s GREENEST flag?? That’s keeper material, right?!
OKAY, OKAY, OKAY. BACK ON TRACK. Let’s look at some more windows, yeah? And while we’re at it, maybe we’ll stare at some of these painstakingly detailed mosaic tile floors, too. This space on the left is actually in the Horta Museum in Brussels – remember, he’s he guy who started this whole movement – and the craftsmanship in this space is straight-up astonishing. The window shape is so good! The built-in space for curtains! The symmetry! The curved AND tiled walls! This puts all of our 2020-era arches to shame, TBH.
The home on the right is the Maison Coilliot, which is about an hour and a half outside of Brussels (and 2 and a half hours from Paris, if you’re planning on embarking upon a European Art Nouveau tour). It’s pretty famous for its exterior – part of it is made from ENAMELED LAVA, GUYS!!! – but I just love this entryway vestibule and these interior windows. Have you ever seen a space look so sparse and so finished all at once? IT’S INCREDIBLE.
If you’re SUPER eagle eyed, you may recognize that mosaic flooring on the left – this is actually the entryway to Hotel Tassel, which we all (hopefully) freaked out over earlier. It’s really fascinating to me that four pretty definitively different windows (one window on the bottom right, the door in the center, one window up top, and that stained glass ceiling above!) all work together so well – here’s to finding some mixing and matching inspiration in the weirdest places, yeah? 🙂
BUT OH MAN. This space on the right is the entryway to the Hotel Hannon in Brussels, which is currently gearing up to reopen to the public as a museum. (Hooray!!!) I love this home because there is SO much going on that still feels kinda relevant – like, get a load of that SUPER veined marble on the steps!! That’s on trend, right?! It’s just so fun and maximalist without being overwhelming. (“Where am I going to put a pattern? Oh, uh, literally every possible place,” – Brunfaut when designing this home, maybe.)
Special Stairs + Iron
We’re finally putting pieces together – are you starting to clock some of these repeated design elements? (Because if not, I’m always happy to scream some more about stained glass windows and tile floors!!!) Both of these were also designed by Horta – the left is at his museum; the right is a smidge up the stairs from the earlier shot we just looked at! – and they each still feel fresh and unexpected and delightful. Art Nouveau is big on the whole “bring the outdoors inside!” messaging and the use of twisting iron REALLY captures that vibe, don’t you think?
THIS MAKES ME WANT TO CRY. I cannot be the only person who goes completely bonkers when looking at a curved wooden staircase and this one is SO, SO, SO GOOD. Look at the way the balusters are curved inwards a little! Look at how even the bottom of the stairs have been finished with care! This home is called Villa Majorelle and it was built in 1902 as a dual residence and showroom for Louis Majorelle, who was a super cool furniture maker at the time. This dude was pioneering WFH abooooout 120 years ahead of the curve while living with the world’s most beautiful staircase, guys. I’M INTO IT.
WHO NEEDS A NEWEL POST? I’d like a newel art installation, PLEASE. I’ve always been partial to the building on the left – it’s the Gorky Museum now – because the architect was TWENTY SIX when he built it and everyone was like, “uh, this is nice, but it doesn’t really work as a house and it makes no sense.” But look at it now, baby!!! Iconic. The theme of this staircase is ~ocean~ (God, I love architecture with a theme!!!) and that’s a Medusa x Jellyfish lamp at the bottom. (Collab of the century, I think.)
The stairway on the right is so dreamy, too. (It’s like a tole chandelier come to life!) These stairs are located in the Reök Palace in Hungary and if you have 3 minutes to spare, I cannot recommend this quick little video tour enough. (When I broke my back in late 2020, I was pretty justifiably freaking out because I couldn’t move my legs. My doctors doped me up to get me to calm down, but they should have just played that video on repeat. Emotional Xanax, if you will. It’s SO soothing.)
We’ve seen these houses before!!! (Any guesses before I remind you?)
This room on the left is in the Villa Majorelle – yeah, the showroom/house combo – and it actually feels kind of livable and modern, right? It’s still a little out there, but it doesn’t feel as tied to the period as some of the other spaces we’ve looked at. Like, I could see someone designing something inspired by this in a 2022 renovation, couldn’t you? The fireplace is so whimsical without being childish or over the top – SUCH a great balance.
And yeah, the space on the right *is* still in the Horta Museum. That tiling just gets more and more astonishing and impressive, doesn’t it? Check out that built in, though – that little fireplace at the bottom is SO SPECIAL. I love how the stone surround is also used in that stripe around the lower perimeter of the room – it all just feels so cohesive and thought-out and bespoke and AHHHH!!! JUST WONDERFUL. (Let’s all seriously go to Brussels after we check out that affordable hotel in Mexico City.)
Last but not least, I just really wanted to show you two of these SUBLIME examples of woodcarving and classic Art Nouveau shapes. This shot is from Maxim’s in Paris (fun fact: Wolfgang Puck worked here!) and in the mid-1900s, it was the most famous restaurant in the world. Today, there’s a little museum upstairs with an even bigger collection of furniture from the late 1890s-early 1910s, too. (And if you’re in the mood to live vicariously through others, the photos on the TripAdvisor page are enviable.)
And now, I gotta leave you with ONE MORE from my boy Horta. This is Hotel Solvay and it kinda has a little bit of everything we talked about, you know? It’s currently a UNESCO heritage site (along with my favorite, Hotel Tassel!) and it actually just started accepting visitors twice per week, which is AWESOME. At the time of its construction, the owner of this home was incredibly wealthy. He gave Horta total design freedom, so my favorite architect went pretty HAM on the creative process – he created everything from the doorbells (!!!) to the furniture – and the whole place is decked out with like, tropical woods and onyx and some of the most incredible marble flooring I’ve ever seen in my LIFE. If you click through on that earlier link, you can actually take a Matterport tour of part of the home (I will confirm that it’s WAY better than taking Matterport tours of 400 square foot teardowns in LA).
THIS CONCLUDES YOUR WORLD TOUR FOR TODAY. I said this to Em on a call last week, but I’ll say it again here: I still can’t believe I get to play show-and-tell every week on a professional level. (And to be clear, I am fully aware that I am also approaching the nuances and intricacies of architectural discussion with about as much knowledge as a kindergartner participating in show-and-tell!!!) Hope you liked ogling with me – let’s do it again sometime??? xx
PS. This video is visually awesome for all you Gaudi fans. I’ve been to Barcelona and will concede that he does live up to the hype. And if I haven’t fried your brain, this video is awesome if you’re interested in the engineering behind Sagrada Familia. HAVE A GOOD WEDNESDAY!
Caitlin, what a fun read! I too am obsessed with Nouveau (and Deco, but I like the former more) and I also just got back from a vacation in Barcelona. (Gaudí and his peeps there called it Moderisme anyway, even though it’s totally the same deal as Nouveau, haha. And there are a ton of other Catalan Modernist architects that deserve a look, not just the OG AG! Take a look at Domènech i Muntaner, and Puig i Cadafach stuff! OK done with Catalan-specific tangent.) I looooove this style and especially the whiplash curve motif, but my husband isn’t such a fan and specifically isn’t super into the whole whiplash curve part. (Read: he hates them.) So when we rented a flat that had a weirdly-shaped-and-sized living room, and I discovered a local rug maker who does custom rugs at a shockingly affordable price, I was stoked to find a way to build in a liiiiitle bit of Nouveau without going overboard. I don’t have a great pic of the whole thing in situ in a tidy room, but here’s the shot from when we were first unpacking it, complete with kid chaos etc. You can see the mild whiplash… Read more »
Huh, it didn’t attach my rug pic, lemme see if I can stick it here… but I think it’s not working so just trust me that it’s cool haha
Yeah can’t get the pic to work, but check out this amazing Nouveau rug that’s the best ready-made one I’ve ever found (my husband hated it lol, and I think it’s Australian so possibly not viable for much of EH audience BUT STILL!) https://www.designerrugs.com.au/collections/designer-collections/kingdom-home/metropolitan/?epik=dj0yJnU9cnBnbzRjVDlscGwzSHRCQU1FaS1qeVpvVzRnSWtKcmImcD0wJm49S0N6VzVpZGNLYVRDck5FNFlpclZhQSZ0PUFBQUFBR0pXa3Rn
Ok Caitlin I just went back and bought the Catalan modernist planters I couldn’t get out of my head from my trip for €1400 and I blame you
HAHHA. oh my gosh we gotta see pics!!! meanwhile i DO NOT KNOW how i missed casa amatller (puig i cadafalch is TOTALLY new to me!) last time i was in barcelona and now i’m like….i gotta go again, right??? 10/10 recommendation!!
Who would have thought that learning would be so fun? I probably could have paid better attention in school if things had been broken down in such an accessible way. Do not sell yourself short!
And you’re right about the crush. It is the greenest flag. I am so excited for you! My husband couldn’t tell you if we lived in a MCM or Victorian house LOL
I agree – you are a great writer Caitlin!
“the hobbit meets vogue” LOL!
Caitlin, we must have more like this!! Loved the article!
My favorite description of a style, ever!
Yes, LOVED ‘the Hobbit meets Vogue’! Perfect!
I think that I read somewhere that Tolkien was inspired by Art Nouveau and in the movies the Elvish cities were designed in the Art Nouveau style.
i have never actually seen a lotr movie in full (!!!) but have ABSOLUTELY fallen down a rabbit hole. this is such a cool little writeup on the architecture in middle earth if anyone else is interested!!
KC, if that is correct, then the movies certainly preserved some of the Nouveau motifs. There are whiplash curves in both Elvish cities shown in the movies: Lothlorien and Rivendell. I think you can see it best in the last movie when Rivendell is all abandoned, you can see curved wood ornamentation all over the windows, out staircases and walkways, and the outside sitting/gathering areas. In Lothlorien scenes, I think it shows the best in the boats, including a swan boat and we all know about swans and Nouveau.
This is the perfect descriptor for Art Nouveau. I’m also a big Nouveau and Deco fan, and really loved this write up, Caitlin.
I used to live in Brussels and have been to many of these places! The Horta museum is one of my favorites, just innocently hanging out in a suburb. I now live near Paris and passed by the Avenue Rapp apartment once, did a triple take then looked it up. Aaand my husband is from Barcelona so I guess we’ve got an Art Nouveau trifecta. Agree with that first comment about all the other amazing Catalan architects of the modernisme movement.
Such a pleasant surprise to see my small country represented on this blog today! 🙂
A fellow Art Nouveau lover here. I visited the Horta house a few years ago and was very intrigued by the layout. It’s a very large city house, but it doesn’t feel like it’s that large (except maybe in the main stairway) because of the smaller and more separate spaces then we’re used to today. On the backside there are several servants quarters intwined with the main house through a second private stairway.
If you want to explore the rest of the house you can find a intriguing cross section house plan here: https://www.hortamuseum.be/nl/ontdekken/plattegronden
And an overview of interior photos here: http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=X059442&objnr=20066443&lang=en-GB
Do take a look at the original tiled servants kitchen (not the gorgeous tiled dining room in this post) and the many salons.
oh my gosh thank you for sharing!! y’all know how i feel about wallpaper and paint so knowing that there’s a ton of separate spaces makes me love this EVEN MORE – so many walls for special little design moments!! that second link is such a treasure trove – just stared for a SOLID few minutes with my mouth WIDE OPEN. the old photos are incredible!!
I live in Brussels and I love love love Art Nuveau. You can find the Maison Horta in “The Danish Girl” movie as well. They are supposed to be in Paris but they went for a lot of Art Nuveau in Brussels 😉
It’s amazing what used to be made of wood, marble or other materials. Real works of art. Today we are going in a completely different direction. Not so much worse, but completely different.
What an inspiring way to start my day! THANK YOU for this gorgeous, inspiring, smile inducing post Caitlin! I too love Art Nouveau and historic architecture in general. It is rare when anything built after 1960 captures my heart. I’m being totally honest, 1940 is usually my limit but I make exceptions for certain mid-century gems.
This makes me think about architectural trends from the past 40 years… and I’m honestly having a lot of trouble coming up with any. I’d love a 20th and 21st century architectural primer post at some point.
Anyways- GREAT post!
I agree! MCM isn’t interesting to me (bar a few experimental designs in the late 50s and early 60s).
I love REALLY OLD – true maker-craft-expertise & REALLY MODERN – steel, glass, tilt-up cast concrete, even modern straw bale or rammed earth, but with an edginess.
The stuff inbetween….nah! Where’s the actual love of the trade? The details? The craft? To me, these are mostly boxes divided into rooms.
Love this post!♥️
thank you :’)
I love posts like this! Caitlin’s enthusiasm really pops at you from the page and makes me excited to learn about something that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have much of an interest in. Thanks EHD for mixing things up around here.
ahhh rachel this is so kind!! thank you 🙂 🙂
These are fun posts; keep ’em coming!
Absolutely gorgeous. I’ve long loved Art Nouveau too and I appreciate your beautiful post.
What I’m most struck by is not so much the designers visions for these spaces but the level of craftsmanship and artistry required to create them. Those skills seem lost now because I can’t seem to find a carpenter who can make corner molding meet in any new construction I’ve been in in the last 20 years. My first house built in 1926 didn’t have a gap in the molding anywhere and it was nearly 100 years old. Current house I’m working in from the 1990s is an abomination. There was a skill level of people at the top of their game to bring these visions to life and I wish we were taking the time now to develop the trades like we did then. Even if a new design movement developed, who would create it? Thanks for the post and the enthusiasm.
the craftsmanship and artistry and even the execution timelines really have blown me away! some of these places were built idea to opening in 18 MONTHS. i can’t even decorate an apartment after 3 years, much less design and build an otherworldly space from scratch! it’s so so so incredible. (brb going to enroll in wood- and/or metalworking classes so i can build a surreal dream house one day)
yes! the craftsmanship!
Exactly. Almost no one is trained and experienced to do this type of work. Even back when these were built, the level of expertise and time required to do these projects could only be built for extremely wealthy clients, the Kings and Popes of their time.
What a great architectural lesson – keep them comin’! (First time commenter here!)
hi, genny!!! thank you 🙂
Caitlin, two things:
Thank you! 🙂
Yes, me too!
that would be SO FUN. absolutely gonna pitch this back to the team at our next editorial meeting 🙂
Yes agree 100%!
Would also love a post like this on art deco, and a follow up post on how to add touches of it to be a more modern take (for both deco and noveau).
Those two eras are my all time favorite, as there was such craftsmanship involved to actually build out those details!
Thanks for the fun post 🙂
We’ve been building a house in Maine for 3 years (NEVER start a house 5 months before a scheduled world pandemic!) with an Art Deco echo. It’s so much fun! We’re not trying to make a museum, but a house as if Nick and Nora have just completed a tour, and are coming home to their vacation home on MDI for a little rest and relaxation.
A little deco, a little modern, some noveau left over, and it all blends together so well.
We’re getting towards the finish line. The marble foyer floor going in this week, next will be the tile in the bathroom I’m hoping! We’ll get there by end of June, (please?)
This deserves not a drum roll, but a whole flippin’ orchestra to introduce Caitlin’s post!
You’ve reached “peak enthusiastic, informative post.” I’m in awe! ♥️
I’m a massive Gaudi fan. For me, these buildings and style maje tge building l8ve, breathe, and dance…they are ALIVE in every way. Tendrils twisting and growing, curves borrowed from nature, true craftsmanship in every nook and cranny!
I’d fantasize about living in a building like any one of these, yet I wonder if I’d ever manage to sleep, not wanting to ever rip my eyeballs from the details and artistry of every single detail.
My most favourite detail? The flowers ‘growing’ up the staircase in tgat one photo. Absolutely delightful!!!💞
I’m going to lose myself in s rolling over and over at this delicious collection –
thank you ENTHUSIASM COACH CAITLIN!! 🥰
:’) thank you as always, rusty!!! it means a lot!!!
Yes!!! I. LOVED. THIS. More of this, please. I’m actually a big fan of that short period of time when Art Nouveau and Art Deco existed in the same world. A little bit of both makes my heart go pitter-patter. Great job, Caitlyn.
NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE! this is a post i didn’t know i needed, but totally did. i’ve always wondered what art nouveau is, and now i feel like i could recognize it. it’s GORGEOUS. those barcelona doorways are SWOON! also, i love the way you describe things. it’s pretty much the way i would describe it. basically pointing out all the pretty things and then oohing and ahhing over them. except you are also adding in knowledge. such good eye candy!
Yay! so fun to see this here! I have been obsessed for so long and have several framed art nouveau posters, and my only tattoo is from an art nouveau print.
As always, thank you Caitlin for this beautiful and comprehensive article.
It would be great if you could do the same with other architectural styles.
WOW such a fun post, thanks for this primer! If anyone is interested in a fun historical fiction book about this time period/style, check out a book I read a few months ago, Clara and Mr. Tiffany: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8296140-clara-and-mr-tiffany
It’s about a real life woman (Clara Driscoll) who worked for Tiffany Glass around the turn of the century – beginning of the Art Nouveau style in glass work and it’s ALL about bringing nature into their ornate designs. Also addresses women breaking into the creative and artisan fields and was an interesting read.
Long time listener, first time caller: Caitlin, this fantastic post inspired me to comment (which I never do!) and express my appreciation. This article is amazing! Your enthusiasm and knowledge shine. I read this first on my phone and then again on my laptop so I could fully appreciate the images. Favorite article of the year by far.
Mind blown. Wow. Thank you. These are amazing. You have shown me a new fascination and definitely expanded my bucket list!
As an almost graduated architecture student, I loved your post! I don’t think Art Nouveau gets enough love. Every example I see is stunning!! We definitely don’t design and build such beautiful buildings anymore, which is a shame. These buildings almost double as art and/or sculpture! I would 100% sign up for an Art Nouveau European tour!
Great post! I love the style deep dive. Could you create a series from this explaining how to incorporate the look into our homes: furniture, lighting, textiles, etc?
YES. Thank you for this post! I love Art Nouveau too (have a bunch of Beardsley prints etc), and Modernisme – and actually also pretty fond of Art Deco, in a different way. I’m glad to see Art Nouveau getting some attention here! Would love more posts on similar lines, and by the way, Caitlin – I just love how you keep bringing out the *fun* and personality in design in your posts here in general. It’s unique and it’s refreshing.
Thank you! Art Nouveau is my favorite aesthetic. I don’t think you can discuss stairs and leave out the book store in Porto, Portugal, that inspired JK Rowling’s vision for Hogwarts…
Hi there! Such a lovely read. I love Art Noveau, but it has quite the sordid past. I have a degree in design and during my studies learned that this style stems from colonial imperialism in the Congo. In fact, many of the motifs used in Art Nouveau are those of Congo origin. Vine and Whiplash designs possibly originate from the appearance of rubber tree vines as well as a flogging whips which represents Leopold’s strong hold of the area and the punishment used by Leopold’s military on the people of Congo. There are a few published articles on this subject! Pretty interesting reads!
A fun read. If you are going around Europe I would also recommend checking out Riga, Latvia. There is a big art nouveau district with a museum, Jugendstila Muzejs.
I second Andrew’s recommendation! According to Wikipedia, Riga is ‘the city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture anywhere in the world’, with one third of the buildings in the city center built in this style. Here is a quick tour: https://grandeflanerie.com/portfolio/rigaartnouveau/. I love love love Riga! Meanwhile, nearby Kaunas is an Art Deco time capsule––with many gems to be found inside stairwells, courtyards, and restored apartments behind often unassuming exteriors.
Kaunas is a cool city, too. I wish we had had more time to spend there.
RIGA! So many fantastic examples of Art Nouveau architecture. Love love looooove
I couldn’t read this without using a mocking voice. The format is like overhearing a snotty kids conversation. OMG!!! Like are ALL the ALL CAPS so captivating to you? Um, yah. Like sign me up TOO… Mmm yah… if you talk like this, it’s a fave. If not, yah… Click.
Hi Caitlin…my wife and I are also huge fans of Art Nouveau. It’s such a beautiful and whimsical style. A few years ago we visited Riga, Latvia, which is full of Art Nouveau buildings, especially on Alberta iela and Elizabetes iela. Apparently Riga has the highest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings anywhere on earth (about a third of the buildings in the center of the city are of this style). If you are ever in that area, you should check it out. It’s a beautiful and interesting city.
Check out the work of Mikhail Eisenstein in Riga…he was one of the more prolific architects in the city. Even the Wikipedia article on him gives some good pictures of his work.
What a fun post! I’ve never looked at groups of architecture this way (or any specific “way” ha ha), so this was very informative and fun! Caitlin, your enthusiasm seeps through the internet and I imaginge you speaking/writing quickly so I find myself reading “quickly” to keep up. These photos were an explosion of details for the eyeballs-especially in contrast to the mostly neutrals, beiges, “natural” design of late (nothing wrong with it of course), but just such a delightful post. Thanks!
I’ve been an Art Nouveau fan for decades. It did have a short “shelf life,” but that’s primarily because it requires highly skilled craftsmen.
Also, the movement was not just limited to interiors and architecture, it was in art, poetry, drama, fashion, and many other modes. It also incorporated a strain of sexuality and decadance that meant it didn’t appeal to a large number of people. But the aftermath of WWI definitely put the nail in its coffin.
Wow! This sure was a great way to spend my Sat morning!!!! Drinking my coffee and reading, smiling, laughing my way through this FUN post!! I am soooo inspired!
THANK YOU SO MUCH
Thank you so much for this view/review of Art Nouveau architecture, my absolute favorite. William Morris believed that living surrounded by beauty was healthy for the mind and spirit. I agree.
Is the recently re-opened Samaritaine in Paris Art Nouveau, or Deco? We were there for spring break and wow, is it gorgeous.
Did you just tell someone you have a huge crush on them via public blog post?! Girrrrrrrl… you are brave.
Caitlin , this is a keeper, I feel like I’ve just been on a Art Nouveau world tour with the best tour guide ever,
thanks so much !
For many years, I thought I was into Art Deco, but I’ve come to realise in recent years that much of what I like best is about Art Deco is when it veers head first into Art Nouveau (so maybe that’s straight Art Nouveau? I’m still slightly confused on that, but it’s basically straight lines mixed with nature elements and swooping curves. Or maybe that’s basically the definition of Arts & Crafts? The point is that I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m fully on board with this post). Also, you need to check out Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco. It’s extremely pricey, and I don’t remember much about the food, but the decor has serious ‘Art Nouveau in Ariel’s Grotto’ vibes.
Art Nouveau is absolutely the most dreamy romantic architecture. It wows every time you see it.