Revival: Art Nouveau
| In the spirit of turning any idea into an impressive visual for a swimming pool ceramic, an interesting development for Craig Bragdy Design has come in taking on particular artistic styles. The decorative zeal of Art Nouveau is an example that has worked well for several pool designs.
Although a disparate artistic movement in many senses, which at the end of the nineteenth century encompassed many different disciplines in several countries, it was driven by a common urge to reinvigorate a stagnating Western art. Certain stylistic signatures prevailed, most recognisably in evocative undulating lines and violent curves (like the crack of the whip), which became central design characteristics of the movement. This is exemplified by Victor Horta’s staircase at 12 rue de Turin in Brussels. The Belgian architect was an immediate hit in the 1890s, with his iron structures. Like many of his contemporaries, he had grown tired of the existing orthodoxies of Western styles and set about creating a radically new ornamental style.
Much of the inspiration for this came from aspects of nature, especially its more unruly side. Botanical studies and illustrations of deep-sea organisms provided the starting point for the sinuous lines and whiplash curves. For Craig Bragdy, with many of its existing designs embracing the natural and the ornamental, exploring Art Nouveau styles on ceramic has been an exciting departure. During a recent project, in which a client wanted two water features in the garden of their residence, Art Nouveau was the key influence. The developmental stages of the project were driven by thorough research and the production of samples in alternate colour schemes. The result adheres to the symmetry and formality of the newly landscaped garden, while incorporating the iconic aesthetic, with gentle flourishes and pleasing curlicues, brought out by an elegant combination of glazes and the sweeping cut of the clay. E.H. Gombrich wrote about Art Nouveau as a longing for something new, which was based on “a new feeling for design” – something Craig Bragdy strives for with every one of its commissions.