Secession in the interior
Our story on Secession begins with a less known and unexpectedly modest movement within this style, and in continuation we come back to all known imaginative and creative qualities of Art Nouveau. Waiving ancient principles and decorative elements has resulted in the emergence of new, original shapes and ways of decorating. Imagination, fantasy, imitation of floral and animal motifs have all become the guidelines for creating interior, as well as furniture. However, the exaggeration in the use of these curved, irregular shapes, although very imaginative and unusual, sometimes causes the impression of overcrowding and saturation with the viewer.
Dining room, Eugène Vallin, Musée de l’Ecole de Nanc
Eugène Vallin, a French architect and furniture maker was one of the members and the president of Association of the École de Nancy. The Association was founded in 1901 and consisted of: designers, makers of glass, ceramics and metallic elements, leather craftsmen, architects, critics, industrialists of the time …all gathered around the idea of mutual cooperation in the production of furniture and interior design in l’Art Nouveau style.
His interior and individual pieces of furniture are masterpieces crafted in solid wood and are the peak of the French l’Art nouveau style. While making the furniture exclusively to order, he objected to the process of industrialization and mass production that swept Europe at that time.
The first interiors and furniture elements that he made were designed for the church and inspired by the Gothic style, which has further influenced his whole future work. Eugene Valin gained glory by creating sets of furniture and complete living and dining room interiors for the influential figures of his time.
Table with three legs – Pinecone living room, Eugène Vallin, Bureau aux Ombelles, 1902
Solid wood as basic material, enabled him to create irregular, asymmetric, curved shapes, supports, fronts and wall paneling. Lots of details on every single piece of furniture, in addition to indicating the dexterity and skill of the author, also suggested the high society position and the financial situation of the owner of such lounges. It is these interiors that can cause the impression of overload, overcrowding and the heaviness of the space because of too many decorations and curved lines, exaggerated use of the same material and over-coordinated colours.
Louis Majorelle is another French designer and manufacturer of furniture, also a member and president of the association École de Nancy. His furniture and details on it, in the spirit of that era, were inspired by nature, plants, flowers, water lilies. Taking into account the high standards in furniture making, as a representative of the French decorative arts, he has developed the production of furniture in two directions. The first group consisted of cheaper pieces of furniture intended for mass production, while the second one produced more luxurious furniture pieces, which were made to order. Cleverly linking art and industrial production, he combined production of metal elements like handles with curved forms with his furniture made of solid wood, that way creating fine and elegant forms of furniture that are still popular even nowadays.
Sideboard details, Louis Majorelle
Villa Majorelle, the house in which the artist lived with his wife, although it bears his name, does not represent the author’s work. The design of the house, as well as the facade, interior and furniture, was executed by a large group of artists of various disciplines, who were members of the Association of the Ecole de Nancy. As one of the first houses in l’Art Nouveau style, it is a perfect example of collaboration between numerous artists and an example of artistic unity in interior design, architecture and decoration. After the reconstruction in 1997 the house has been open to the public as a kind of museum, and on that occasion the original individual pieces of furniture have been returned.