Paris is about to receive one of the greatest celebrations of interior design: Maison et Objet 2017. For that reason, Best Design Projects selected the 5 best Art Nouveau Buildings in Paris that you cannot miss while you’re in the City of Light.
Much more than a staid school of 19th-century architecture, Art Nouveau buildings were an entire aesthetic movement. From architecture and design to the decorative and fine arts, Art Nouveau, or “new art,” was once everywhere. From the 1890s to the 1910s, the style exploded in Western Europe, where the wealthy and fashionable surrounded themselves with lush, naturalistic, one-of-a-kind objects and spaces crafted by the era’s optimistic artists.
In France, the Belle Époque was a time of general prosperity, including fine craftsmen and boldly expressive artists and architects. It was normal to take risks. Art Nouveau is mainly featured by the severity of its curves—its hyperbolas and parabolas. Art Nouveau also relied on a bold reduction of natural forms. Paris, the center of the French art world, was granted many fine examples of Art Nouveau architecture and design during this promising era. Best Design Projects selected the 5 finest examples.
Home of Jules Lavirotte
Admire the façade of this apartment building erected in 1901 in the style of Jules Lavirotte’s Art Nouveau designs. Its extravagant entryway depicts a lush Garden of Eden. The house at 29 Avenue Rapp is considered one of the most richly detailed Art Nouveau structures in Paris.
Entrances to the Paris Métro
Follow these signs underground to the monumental network that is Le Métro—the French capital’s subway. The system first opened in 1900 with entryways designed by Hector Guimard. Today, Guimard’s decorative wrought-iron apertures are a signature of Art Nouveau Paris.
It’s all about the ironwork in the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées’s interior. Though this massive exhibition hall is considered a neoclassical or Beaux Arts structure on the outside, its interior ribs, and tendrils bare the unmistakable signature of Art Nouveau lines.
The Galeries Lafayette, a palatial flagship department store, offers both retail and architectural splendor. Peer up from its bowed balconies at a dramatic cupola in a turn-of-the-century palette.
Lamps of the Pont Alexandre III
A dinner hot spot and historic landmark, Maxim’s is like a time capsule from the Belle Époque. There are few straight lines in its Art Nouveau woodwork and vast collection of period art.
Here is another work by architect Hector Guimard. The gated entryway alone is worth a trip to Castel Béranger, a custom-designed apartment building from the late 19th century. Guimard is now considered a quintessential Art Nouveau designer.