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Art Nouveau Interiors: Making A Comeback

Art Nouveau Interiors: Making A Comeback

Art Nouveau was the design style that monopolised the realms of architecture, art and applied art at the turn of the 20th century (1890 - 1910) as artists and architects tried to get their work to correspond to their natural environment.     

Made widely popular by its attractive use of shape and colour, the style was inspired by natural forms and structures such as flowers and plants as well as by curved lines and the apparent fluidity of such lines. Considered the principal precursor for the mid-20th century's Modernist movement, Art Nouveau was a "total" style that influenced everything from jewellery, furniture and textiles to architecture, graphic design and interior design. One particularly popular medium for Art Nouveau design was glass art which presented somewhat of a blank canvas and endless possible applications, from windows and vases to jewellery and lighting.

The name most often associated with Art Nouveau interior design is that of Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh whose post-impressionist works remain popular and continue to inspire others, even today. However, another prominent name in the Art Nouveau glass art community is Louis Comfort Tiffany; the son of the legendary jeweller, this industrial designer was a leader in America's Art Nouveau movement.

Louis Comfort Tiffany developed various techniques like his mouth blown glass (Favrille) and his copper foil technique that is so essential to the colouring of his famed stained glass Tiffany lights, the first of which was a lamp designed by studio artist Sara Driscoll at the end of the 19th century. Tiffany lights use stained glass as the principal medium with floral and Femme Fleure inspired themes, stunning colours, curved lines and motifs influenced by natural elements like tulips and dragonflies.

Though the Art Nouveau style and Tiffany's beautiful lights faded after World War I with the emergence of Modernist design, the quality and craftsmanship is undeniable. With originals selling anywhere upward of $500,000 (USD) it is clear that Tiffany is still appreciated more than a century after he shared his work with the world and with plenty of Tiffany inspired lamps and interior fixtures currently on trend, it is clear that Art Nouveau is far from gone.