5 Tips for integrating Art Nouveau into your interior | intOndo
17.11.2021

Tips & trends

5 Tips for integrating Art Nouveau into your interior

How to bring Art Nouveau furniture up to date: a fairytale style for unforgettable interiors.

Image via Hackrea.com

Art Nouveau is a style that was widespread in Europe at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and took on different names and forms in each country (e.g. Liberty in Italy or Jugendstil in Germany). This style was successful not only in the figurative arts, but also in architecture, jewellery, interior decoration, textile art and many other fields, creating a true Art Nouveau universe, different for each country but with some common characteristics. This universality is one of the fundamental aspects of Art Nouveau: the artists were firmly convinced of the need to create total works of art, where every production (be it an everyday object or a work of art) was characterised by utility and beauty. Inextricably linked, utility and beauty were precisely the two characteristics that allowed Art Nouveau to spread so widely through the urban fabric (think of the entrances to the Paris metro) and into people's daily lives. More than a century later, we are still fascinated by this style, but the environments we live in have changed: houses are smaller, tastes have evolved. So what are the 5 elements of Art Nouveau that are most contemporary and best suited to our spaces? 

1 Materials  

The main materials of Art Nouveau are those that can be more easily moulded, such as wood, iron and glass, but also concrete, steel and enamel: the use of more unusual materials for the time is an aspect linked to the desire to innovate, to create everyday objects that reflect the aesthetics sought. The language of Art Nouveau is characterised by sinuous, curved lines, and consequently the materials must be chosen on this basis. A parquet floor in a warm shade, a beautiful balustrade with curved elements or small details in wrought iron will suffice to give your rooms an instant Art Nouveau touch.

2 The motifs 

At the turn of the century, artists were strongly fascinated by the Orient, especially Japan, so Art Nouveau contains many motifs from the natural world. In the 1960s these dynamic and floral designs were revived, especially in textiles and advertising, but introducing strong contrasting colours characteristic of the language of the 1960s. Opting for floral and faunal fabrics and prints can be a great way to take up Art Nouveau elements, or exotic elements such as peacocks and parrots can be incorporated into cushions and curtains. 

3 Themes  

The themes dear to Art Nouveau are those derived from the forms of nature, with decorations reminiscent of real botanical catalogues due to the wealth of varieties represented, but also human figures (mainly female), always set in a dreamlike and fairytale atmosphere. These themes are used in every object, from advertising posters to centrepieces and wallpaper. For a sophisticated effect, you can opt for wallpapers with floral and soft designs, such as those designed by William Morris (1834 - 1896): flowers, leaves and small animals united by elegant lines that never go out of fashion.     

4 Colours  

It is now clear that nature is the leitmotif of Art Nouveau and the colours are consequently warm and soft, without strong contrasts (apart from some cases of Catalan Modernism). Inspired by Japanese art, Art Nouveau also took up the tendency to present absolutely flat shapes and colours, with solutions that were particularly successful in advertising. Even today, a nice vintage Art Nouveau print can warm up the room and give a lighter, more light-hearted tone to your home.    

5 Lighting    

The use of light is another key element of the Art Nouveau aesthetic. Fervent supporters of natural light were the Viennese Secessionists in particular, who, when designing their Secession building in 1897, theorised about and built the first glass ceiling for an exhibition space. While leaning towards natural light, Art Nouveau lamps had a significant development, famous for example Louis Comfort Tiffany's production in America of his iconic leaded and coloured glass lamps. Taking up Rococo motifs and decorations, pendant lamps were also a highlight of Art Nouveau production.