Art Nouveau is a revolutionary architectural style, which focuses on ornamentation of a structure, through organic forms. It flourished between the time frame of 1890 and 1910, through Europe and United States. This architectural style is well known for its long organic lines, adding its beauty into architecture, interior design, jewelleries, glass design and illustrations as well. Some more characteristics of Art Nouveau are a sense of Dynamism and motion often provided by asymmetrical figures and the incorporation of modern elements such as Iron, glass, ceramics, and later, concrete, to create unusual forms and huge spaces. It was a revolution, bringing a new and fresh style of architecture into the era of imitative and historicism that dominated most of 19th century art and architecture. Its major objective was to blur the lines between fine arts and applied arts. The very first Art Nouveau residences and interior decorations that appeared were in Brussels in 1890 designed by the architects Paul Hankar and Henry Van de Velde.There are many structures around the globe that highly signify the style of Art Nouveau and are of architectural significance, some of which are listed below:
1.CASA BATLLO, BARCELONA
Casa Batllo is of major significance in Art Nouveau, located right in the centre of Barcelona, Passeig de Gràcia. It is designed by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. Locally it is well known as “Casa DelsOssos” and has a visceral skeletal organic quality. The ground floor of the structure possesses unusual tracery, irregular oval shaped windows and stone work around the structure. Only few lines can be sighted throughout the building. The façade of the structure is the major attraction, as it is decorated with colourful mosaic made out of broken ceramic tiles. The roof attracts some attention, as it is arched like the back of a dragon or dinosaur.
2.THE OLD ENGLAND BUILDING
This old building standing high, showcasing beautiful Art Nouveau style is a The Old England Building, built in 1978. It is a steel structure with a highly arched attic at the top with six stories in between. The façade has a curtain wall of glass which maximises the natural light within the structure. The ornaments on the façade are painted dark green just like the rest of the structure. Curves around the frames create supporting brackets that imitate the form of vines and tendrils of plants, stamping it as the industrial type of Art Nouveau design. The interior of the structure is also well taken into consideration. A small metal staircase decorated with designs of art nouveau and an old fashioned elevator can be seen just at the entrance. To get the best possible view of Brussels, the top of Old England Building plays well, as a beautiful panoramic view can be seen from it.
Majolikahaus is a classic Art Nouveau structure designed by Otto Wagner in the 20th century. Its intricate detailing stands well onto the features of Art
Majolikahaus is a classic Art Nouveau structure designed by Otto Wagner in the 20th century. Its intricate detailing stands well onto the features of Art Nouveau style of design. The façade is decorated with small ceramic tiles known as majolica. The tiles are arranged in floral shapes right up to the high ends of the wall creating beautiful bright effects. Other materials used in the exterior finishing of the structure are iron and wooden frames, used in the windows. Gradation of colours is taken into consideration while working on the façade. The gradual stretch of tiles right up to the roof showing colour variations in natural colours like red and green give a visual treat. The façade decoration was done by a student of Wagner known to be Alois Ludwig. The façade is not only decorative but also practical as its cleaning can be easily done by fire hoses.
4.GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART
The Glasgow school of art, situated in the centre of Glasgow, Scotland is designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The construction of the structure took place in two phases; one from 1897 to 1899, and the other in the time frame of 1907 to 1909.The structure showcases a high influence of Scottish baronial architecture. Different Art Nouveau floral and geometric motifs can be seen on the iron work and on the tiles. These motifs bring scale and colour to the room through the details of mantlepieces, lighting fixtures, carpets, furniture and crockery.
5.THE SECESSION BUILDING
The Secession Building is a highstanding structure representing Art Nouveau style. It was constructed between 1897 and 1898 by Joseph Maria Olbrich. It is an all white structure with a golden dome representing the beauty of the building. The dome is 8.5 meters wide and gilded with 2500 golden iron laurel leaves. These gold plated leaves can also be seen on the wall along with owls and twirling lines adding onto the beauty of the structure. The three female relifs above the entrance symbolise, architecture, visual art and sculpture, all in one symbolising harmonium. The building covers a floor area of 1000 square meters.The motto of the building is: ‘to every age its art, to art its freedom.’
6.AGOUDAS HAKEHILOS SYNAGOGUE
The structure standing high with the pride of Art Nouveau, in a narrow space, is The Agoudas Hakehilos Synagogue. It was built in 1913 by architect Hector Guimard and the building was inaugurated by June 7, 1914. It stands on a narrow stretch of 5 x 23 meter long land, having an unconventional ratio of height to the structure, making it unique. The façade is very intriguing with those narrow windows and the vegetal patterns that contribute to the unique beauty of the structure. Art Nouveau touches on the building are through luminaires, chandeliers, brackets and benches as well as stylized vegetal decorations which are designed by Hector Guimard. Indoor lighting has been kept in special consideration. For natural lighting around the structure, a large glass roof is provided. The building also has a library, study room and a sanctuary.
Named after the legend and founder of Riga Bishop Albert, is the most beautiful street of Riga, The Albert Street. It is the Art Nouveau Hotpoint of Riga, showcasing most of its beauty lined in a row. There are eight buildings on the street that are known as Architectural Monuments of National significance. This whole area was erected in a very short time span of 1901 to 1908. 2, 2A, 4, 6, 8, 11, 12 and 13 Albert Street are the Architectural monuments. These buildings are ornamented with sculptures, balconies, columns and with other characteristic elements of this style. The interior of these structures are just as beautiful as the exterior, where intricate details and beautiful vibrant colours over curvaceous lines can be seen.
A unique structure known by, and for, the sculpture on its roof, is The Cat House. Walking by the streets of Riga, you will come across this unique structure built in 1909 by architect Friedrich Scheffel. It is a structure with a blend of medieval architecture and Art Nouveau elements in it. It is popular for its two wrought iron cat sculptures, with arched backs and raised tails, standing on the corner turrets of the building. At the entrance, elaborated Art Nouveau designs can be seen along with arched windows and doors, in bright colours, along with intricate details.
Well known by its local name- Jerusalem Synagogue, The Jubilee Synagogue is located in the Jerusalem Street of Prague and was built in 1906 by architect Wilhelm Stiassny. The structure gets its unique look from the summation of Moorish Revival style along with Art Nouveau designs, especially in the interior. The maudejar red and white coursing of the stone façade is very striking and attracting. Its large central arch frames a rosette window with the Star of David, and two rows of arches support the women’s gallery. A bright colour with intricate details and stained windows stands with its ornamentation, for making the structure unique from all.
10. MUSEUM OF APPLIED ARTS
The third oldest applied art museum in the world is the, Museum of Applied Arts. It was constructed between 1893 and 1896 and designed by Odon Lechner. The intricate interior of the structure consists of Hindu, Mogul and Islamic designs adding onto its beauty. It has a green roof and is decorated all around with terracotta tiles. The structure is well known for its Art Nouveau designs because of the enormous dome on the exterior, and the interior evokes oriental splendour with glass roofed halls surrounded by two storey arcades. It is a Hungarian Art Nouveau building. The museum has a collection of metalwork, furniture, textiles and glass, and it also has a library.