Art nouveau swept across Europe around the turn of the 20th century and was embraced by architects, graphic and interior designers and artists. Here are the best cities in Europe to get a flavour of its most impressive buildings
Art nouveau was the curvilinear, nature-inspired style that dominated everything from jewellery to architecture at the start of the 20th century. As it spread throughout Europe and across the Atlantic it followed two main strands: the curvy, whiplash decoration that flowed out of Paris-Brussels and the more linear, geometric style seen in Vienna and Glasgow. East European centres such as Prague, Riga and Budapest merged art nouveau with their own local traditions and the outstanding buildings of the era are found in those cities. By 1915, the craze for art nouveau had been crushed by the advent of the first world war and the arrival of a new style, art deco.
Over the last 100 years the demolition of art nouveau structures has been ruthless. French architect Hector Guimard’s innovative Parisian concert hall was pulled down as early as 1905 and only three of his roofed entrances to the Paris metro remain. While Barcelona, Vienna, Munich and Subotica claim stunning yet isolated art nouveau buildings, other cities have managed to preserve the style as part of their dominant architectural heritage.