Art Nouveau, the Ornate Architectural Style that Defined the Early 20th Century

hotel tassel victor horta art nouveau architecture

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Hôtel Tassel. Brussels, Belgium.

This Belgian townhouse was built between 1893 and 1894 for scientists and professor Emile Tassel. Architect Victor Horta's use of glass and iron building materials have garnered the Hôtel Tassel the honor of being the first Art Nouveau piece of architecture. The intricate interior railings and wallpapers with Art Nouveau patterning demonstrate how the style moved from exterior to interior with ease.

Gresham Palace. Budapest, Hungary.

Now the Four Seasons Hotel, the Gresham Palace in Budapest was an office and apartment building completed in 1906. Interesting, the space was used as an army barracks during World War II by the Red Army. Quite an interesting change of events for such a sumptuous interior!

Municipal House. Prague, Czech Republic.

This civic building was built on the site of the former Royal Palace, opening to the public in 1912. Filled with allegorical detail glorifying the city, the site is brimming with ornate finishes. Certain touches are even inspired by what would have been considered “exotic” cultures at the time, such as Egyptian. The site contains a concert hall, cafe, ballroom, and offices, all of which are still functioning today.

Old England Building. Brussels, Belgium.

This former department store, built in 1899, now houses Brussels' Musical Instrument Museum. Made from girded steel and glass, this prime example of Art Nouveau architecture demonstrates how these new technologies, made possible by the Industrial Revolution, helped architects reach new creative heights.

Paris Metro Art Nouveau Entrances

(Photo: Wikicommons)

Metro Entrances. Paris, France

Between 1900 and 1912, 141 Art Nouveau metro entrances were installed in Paris. Designed in two styles by architect Hector Guimard, 86 still remain today. Guimard created two types of entrances, with and without glass roofs, some also featuring paneling with floral motifs. The entrances have become a beloved symbol of Paris, with a replica of a roofed entryway being erected in 2000 at the Châtelet stop.

Want to learn more about Art Nouveau architecture? We recommend Taschen's Art Nouveau.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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