Art Nouveau vs. Art Deco

Two eras that still inspire

Art Nouveau and Art Deco do not just sound similar, both designs evolved as a response to the culture of their times. Art Nouveau or Jugendstil was most popular between 1890 and 1910 responding to the industrial revolution. Art Deco on the other hand followed from 1920 to 1940 after World War 1 and the great depression. Where Art Nouveau is known for flowery shapes and Organic and dreamlike themes, Art Deco is known for streamlined, geometric and repeating sharp themes.

The use of shapes is perhaps the easiest way to tell Art Nouveau from Art Deco. The focus of Art nouveau was based on naturalistic forms like fairies, insects, flowers and weeds. Art Nouveau designs are much more detailed and intricate when compared to Art Deco designs. Though the Art Deco design is not any less complex.  Art Deco design focused more on repeating patterns and geometric shapes  in a more streamlined and repeated manner. Other than Art Nouveau where lines and shapes almost look like on of a kind.

ZWEI_Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau

Zwei_Art nouveau

Art Deco

Change is the source of design

Why did this change in design take place? Design always reflects social and political change. So did these two eras. Art Nouveau designs were inspired by the artist and design world’s rejection of the industrial revolution. Mass production was going to create “soulless” object with no attention to detail and esthetic. So the movement of intricacy and detail was born. Art Deco on the other hand was influenced by the realities and hardships of the First World War and the great depression. People were longing for glamour and opulence and a source of hope, inspiration and a false sense of security. This resulted in highly geometric designs emphasizing efficiency and streamlining and reach materials and color choices..
The two styles aren’t difficult to tell apart if you keep a few things in mind. Art Deco designs are invariably more streamlined, use more horizontal lines and are linear in almost every way. The use of chrome, steel wood and dark and rich colors is another sure giveaway.


On the other hand, Art Nouveau features more natural and pictures forms, and will incorporate more natural, organic and curvy shapes and designs. The color and material choices of the Art Nouveau are much more nature inspired, soft, light and elegant.

ZWEI_Art Nouveau


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *