if i could be transported to another time and place, i would be fascinated to visit the few decades before the first world war. ideally i would not be in one place. i would travel the world and the world would be traveling to me. globalization on the rise.
a crazed group of 1910 british bankers sing a frenzied song at little micheal banks in mary poppins, trying to induce him to invest his tuppence in railways through africa, dams across the nile, fleets of ocean greyhounds, majestic, self-amortizing canals, plantations of ripening tea.
this economic globalization paralleled a radically changing europe’s outlook and lifestyle. interior design and furniture design would be forever changed. you can argue for or against globalization, but this seems to be a waste of time. it just happens. go with the flow.
interior designers, especially in the art nouveau movement, began the modernist trend toward lighter more open rooms and furnishings. forms and techniques used in islamic and asian, especially japanese, art and architecture were incorporated. new materials and techniques were possible because of the industrial revolution. ancient styles, materials and techniques were rediscovered.
the result was a grand flourish of exotic possibilities, pushing design away from the heavy, stodgy forms of the past.
for more info go to the art nouveau exhibit at the national gallery of art from which i borrowed these four images.