Our last day in Paris we decided to have a look at the newly restored dome of Galleries Layfayette. On the way we stepped into Au Printemps and found this wonderful encaustic mosaic in the entry. The colors are vibrant and it is a lively and welcoming floor.
Most people go to Paris and record vistas of beautiful gardens, remarkable architectural detail and people in cafes or walking their dogs. I do that as well, some of the time. But on my most recent trip in March, I wanted to find really beautiful mosaics that were not in museums. By accident, I happened to look in an apartment vestibule and spied a really wonderful mosaic and photographed it.
I was then on a roll and of course had to find many more. So Robert and I took off to explore the city on the Metro. We went on the trail of the buildings design by the prolific architect Hector Guimard a devotee of the French Art Nouveau style. His practice flourished between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. His work was fluid with curvilinear lines. At the time, his designs were thought to be very avant-garde. Not only did he design the exterior architecture, he designed the interiors and the curvilinear gates that frame the entrances of the buildings. I was able to squeeze my way in to one building (my French is primitive at best) and take 2 photos to share.
During the late 19th century when building was flourishing in Paris, mosaics were still installed piece by piece by skilled artisans. It is inspiring to see graceful curves, decorative cartouches with bright accent colors, and skillfully articulated corners that look as remarkable today as the day they were installed. The repetitive designs are often in contrast to the background. The stones have aged gracefully over time and now have a lovely patina.
I was looking for design inspiration and palette. It was not hard to find both in many different incarnations on buildings, in hallways, foyers and on walls in public and private spaces! Just keep your eyes open and camera handy.
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