#Lecture 2: 1900

:: Undulating :: Exotic :: Dreamlike ::

I did a project on Art Nouveau a couple years ago as part of my A-levels in Art.  I guess I wasn’t studying the right application, because I remember finding the style negatively busy and I failed to see the beauty, elegance and sophistication of the design.  In my lecture, I immediately became so enticed by this piece of design…it reminded me of the much more interesting features of the movement and allowed me to see how it can be applied to interior spaces and how the transformation can lead to such brilliance.

Victor, Baron Horta (1861 – 1947) was a Belgian architect and designer, once described as “undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect.” Hotel Tassel located in Brussels (1892-3) demonstrated one of the first pieces of architecture that introduced Art Nouveau to architecure from the decorative arts.  His designs went on to inspire many designers who encouraged this style into their work.

Victor Horta

The style richly ornamental featuring the classic whiplash curve.  Strongly resembling plant life with its fluidity, floral and decorative elements. Slightly erotic its elements seem to unfold with the design throughout the house. The stairs treads seem to open up and thrust out upon the landing giving a sense of movement and not forgetting allowing light to flood through.  Horta really gave an incredible amount of attention to detail throughout, e.g. the banister, handrails, light fixtures and graphic elements, to name a few.  Just looking at the pictures is dream-like and exotic.

Victor Horta

Victor Horta

“Dynamic, undulating, flowing forms”

Moreover the use of hyperbolas and parabolas in windows, arches, and doors is another characteristic that Horta implicated within his design.  Even the most conventional features of any house, here was made with the utmost intricacy with its curved and scalped plant-derived forms, even designed down to the doorbell itself.

Victor Horta

Horta really made evident that the study of the plant can be applied to art, in such a harmony thus creating a careful yet pure design.

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