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A splendorous collection of Art Nouveau storefronts from around the world

In today’s marketplace, where competitors are forever breathing down your neck, an attractive storefront can surely make a big difference. It can definitely be the most powerful weapon in making you stand out from the others on the street. It is one of the crucial elements in drawing potential customers inside a store and that is why it has to be both unique and eye-catching.

We encounter the opposite while walking through the many ultra-modern but soulless shopping malls, filled with storefront designs that are quite boring and unimaginative. Fortunately, there are still corners of the world where one can spot a gorgeous storefront embellished in Art Nouveau “attire.”

Art Nouveau storefronts can be dazzling to the eye, particularly if you’ve been shopping in a gigantic shopping mall. They bring inspiration and beauty to the city streets and so, for the purpose of celebrating them, we have selected photographs of some of the most stunning Art Nouveau storefronts from around the world.

Art Nouveau Bakery. Source A/Flickr
Art Nouveau Bakery, Barcelona. Author: A CC BY2.0

As you might have guessed, the French term Art Nouveau means New Art. It is considered the first modern style of the 20th century that strongly confronted the eclectic historical styles alongside it, and in a short period, it spread like wildfire through both Europe and North America.

Art Nouveau café in Brussels, Belgium (Saint-Gilles). Author: µµ CC BY2.0
Art Nouveau café in Brussels, Belgium (Saint-Gilles). Author: µµ CC BY2.0

A force in visual arts, design, and architecture, Art Nouveau was a revolutionary style that defied the norms of the industrialized society and mass production, often pointing to and using traditional techniques and emphasizing craftsmanship.

Art Nouveau shop front. Source A/Flickr
Art Nouveau shop front. Author: A CC BY2.0

Just a glimpse at these charming storefronts is enough to know that Art Nouveau artists loved freedom and defied the precise geometry of Neoclassical forms. Their nature-inspired designs quickly became fashionable in France and by the turn of the 20th-century, art magazines and international exhibitions made Art Nouveau the most popular style in Europe.

art nouveau storefront. Source intenteffect
Art nouveau storefront. Author: intenteffect CC BY2.0

Although everything began in Paris, other European cities such as Vienna, Barcelona, Glasgow, Munich, Brussels, Turin, and even some cities in Scandinavia, such as Alesund in Norway, enjoyed the fashionable style. Even today, many stunning Art Nouveau buildings can be seen throughout these cities, delighting passersby.

Art Nouveau, Italy. Source Piano Piano/FLickr
Art Nouveau, Italy. Author: Piano Piano CC BY2.0

The colorful movement appeared around 1890, but it was popularized in 1895, when the famed art dealer Siegfried Bing opened a gallery in Paris called Maison de l’Art Nouveau, showcasing different works created in this particular style.

Green & Co, Salisbury, circa 1932.Source Drivethrucafe/FLickr
Green & Co, Salisbury, circa 1932. Author: Drivethrucafe CC BY2.0

Ever since its appearance, the style provoked a debate among architects, artists, and designers. Some loved the new style, while others were not that fond of it.

Pink Art Nouveau Store in Barcelona.Source Europeana EU/Flickr
Pink Art Nouveau Store in Barcelona. Author: Europeana CC BY2.0

There is still an ongoing debate whether or not Art Nouveau was an architectural style, with some claiming that it was only used for decorative detail.

Art Nouveau Shop in Belgium. Source:quinet
Art Nouveau Shop in Belgium. Author: quinet CC BY2.0

However, it was the Paris World’s Fair of 1900 (also known as the 1900 Exposition Universelle) that truly brought Art Nouveau to the masses, catalyzing the integration of the style into the popular culture of the time.

Salisbury, Source Love Art Nouveau/FLickr
Salisbury, Source Love Art Nouveau. Author: Love Art Nouveau CC BY2.0

The movement didn’t last long, and less than a decade after Art Nouveau was popularized and flourishing in both Europe and the United States, it started falling out of favor.

Art Nouveau shopfront Source Ganymedes Costagravas/Flickr
Art Nouveau shopfront Author: Ganymedes Costagravas  CC BY2.0

The movement that shaped the civic identity of many cities and deeply influenced art and architecture was practically over by 1905 and by the beginning of World War I, it was officially over.

Wonderful Art Nouveau style chemist shop. Source Parksy1964/Flickr
Wonderful Art Nouveau style chemist shop. Author: Parksy1964 CC BY2.0

We are lucky that Art Nouveau continues to be a presence in our lives through art and architecture.

Read another story from us: Art Nouveau at its finest: The City of Nancy was the center of an architectural movement

These selected photographs are just a small sample of what this style has to offer, as there are plenty more Art Nouveau storefronts still waiting to be discovered.

Goran Blazeski

Goran Blazeski is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News