|Station Saint-Michel, Paris. Photo: Phyllis Shess, PillartoPost.org, 2013|
Parisian architect and designer Hector Guimard (1867-1942) was commissioned in 1905 to make the Entrance Gates to Paris Subway (Métropolitain) Stations not only to mark an entry to the new Paris Métro, but also to help make this new mode of transportation appealing to Parisians.
Entrance gates to Paris Subway is designed in the style of Art Nouveau, an international style of decoration and architecture in the 1880s and 1890s that drew inspiration from nature and natural forms.
The gates curvilinear lines and patterns were inspired by vines and flowers. Symmetrical, floral lights frame the Metro sign, both lighting the entrance and advertising the Métro. This blend of design, architecture, and advertisement was important to modern ideas.
Guimard used an innovative modular system to create 141 gates throughout Paris. At first, Parisians were hesitant in their response to Guimard’s gates. The Art Nouveau aesthetic was unfamiliar to the masses, yet they soon grew to appreciate this new style previously known only by the wealthy. That said, only a few publicly installed gates remain in Paris today, while others can be found in Montreal, Canada.
|The artist in his studio|