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Antoni Gaudi has been one of the most extraordinary architects of all times. As Voca Han mentioned, Gaudi’s architecture is difficult to classify within a single artistic movement. However, his work is strongly inspired by the style of Catalan Modernism, which had its peak between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so some authors call it a regional variation of Art Nouveau, marking a period of transition between the end of the historicist styles that replicated the decorative elements of the past, and the entrance of the modern avant-garde that succeeded it (Resina, 2005).

Art Nouveau had a great popularity in several European countries, so it is possible to find various works in Vienna, where it was known as the “Sezession”, or in Milan, where this movement was called “Liberty a Milano” . However, it was in Paris where Art Nouveau became a design theme for street furniture elements, such as the entrances and signs of the Metro stations.

Image 1. Entrance of Anvers – Sacré-Cœur Station, which was finished in 1902 and which preserves its Art Nouveau style, designed by Hector Guimard.

This was one of the aspects that most caught my attention during a recent trip I made to Paris. In contrast to most cities in the world, where there is a tendency to have a unified graphic language in terms of furniture and signage in transport systems, such as London or Milan, in Paris different styles coexist depending on the time in which each station was built, which reinforces its symbolic and artistic character within the Parisian identity.

Image 2. Metro signs corresponding to different eras.
References:

Archdaily (2017). AD Classics: Paris Métro Entrance / Hector Guimard. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/870687/ad-classics-paris-metro-entrance-hector-guimard

Gaudi all Gaudi (2018). Art Nouveau in Europe. Available at: http://www.gaudiallgaudi.com/A0003.htm#ART%20NOUVEAU%20IN%20CATALONIA

Resina, J. R. (2005). Modernism in catalonia. The cambridge history of spanish literature. 513-519

List of images:

Image 1: Taken by the author

Image 2: https://xdaysiny.com/grands-boulevards-itinerary-paris-go-eat-shop/paris-metro-signs-2/

 

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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