Art Nouveau furniture is identified by its organic shapes and curved lines. The designs seen in them are the result of the influence of nature, shaped by excellent craftsmanship. Europe and the United States were the countries where this form of furniture became popular. It was between 1890 and 1910. The last years of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century are often remembered with a certain romanticism.
Images of luxurious and elaborate interiors are common. Furniture that resembles trees and flowers became very popular and the style that emerged became known as Art Nouveau. It is named after a Parisian art gallery, which promoted innovative designs. Art Nouveau furniture is generally characterized by delicately curved lines and floral patterns.
This type of furniture often does not have straight lines. The backs of the chairs and the legs of the table elegantly curve to the outside, often intersecting with decorative crossbars. Upholstery fabrics are usually tough and sumptuous, and range from brocade and leather to linen and velvet. Artists often achieve intricate carving and elegant curves through the use of tropical hardwoods.
Unlike past designs, Art Nouveau seats paid little attention to uniformity. Despite the lack of unity, the clean, uninterrupted lines and high backrests created beautiful designs that became immensely popular. Art Nouveau is a linear style inspired by natural forms and structures. Ornamentation is based on the distinctive lines and shapes of flowers and plants.
The design and production of curved shapes in this period used to be very complex and expensive. The furniture created in the Art Nouveau style stood out from the early 1890s until the beginning of the First World War in 1914. Mackintosh's style contrasted between right angles and floral motifs, while Gaudí was classified as a modernist, and often decorated furniture and interiors according to the owner's taste, always with the aim of creating an intimate and comfortable environment. Other notable French designers were Henri Bellery-Desfontaines, who was inspired by the Neo-Gothic styles of Viollet-le-Duc; and Édouard Colonna, who worked with art dealer Siegfried Bing to revitalize the French furniture industry with new themes.
Another influential Belgian furniture designer with a very different Art Nouveau style was Henry Van de Velde. Frank Lloyd Wright is not considered an Art Nouveau architect, but the first furniture he designed looked a lot like the geometric furniture of the Vienna Secession and other late Art Nouveau movements of the same period. Alexandre Charpentier was a sculptor, medalist, craftsman and cabinet maker who was another notable figure in furniture design in Paris, and who designed very elaborate sets of furniture and panels of carved wood with plant themes. He also began designing furniture sets with the naturalistic curves and decoration that were characteristic of the style.
In the early years of the style, Art Nouveau architects often designed furniture to match the style of their homes. Furniture designers and manufacturers used a variety of materials to create Art Nouveau furniture, such as Brazilian mahogany, oak, walnut, pear wood, iron, steel, bronze, and cast iron. Majorelle made nature the central element, calling it a collaborator worthy of attention, but she also insisted that the structure of the furniture should be clearly recognized and that the beauty of a piece of furniture came not only from its decoration, but also from its elegant lines and its correct proportions. Furniture designers in France and Belgium adopted the style more enthusiastically than those in most countries.
While this style focused on asymmetry, the furniture remained largely symmetrical due to its practical nature. He had designed furniture for his own home, Bloemenwerf, near Brussels, in a style influenced by the British Arts and Crafts movement. Other notable furniture designers from the School of Nancy were Eugène Vallin and Émile André; both were architects by training, and both designed furniture that looked like the furniture of Belgian designers such as Horta and Van de Velde, who were less decorated and followed curved plants and flowers more closely. Another of the first Belgian architects and furniture designers was Paul Hankar, who designed one of the first Art Nouveau houses in Brussels and, like Horta, used the curved line of whiplash on his furniture.