Hector Guimard was a notable French interior designer, prominent architect and best known representative of Art Nouveau. He was born on March 10, 1867 in Lyon, France. Following the trends of 19th century Guimard also studied at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs in Paris from 1882 to 1885. Later in 1885 he started attending the École Nationale et Speciale des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was given admission in the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1988 where he stayed till 1989.
After completing studies Guimard started teaching at the École Nationale et Speciale des Beaux-Arts, Paris as an assistant professor in 1891 and was promoted to the rank of a professor the following year. He stayed there until 1900 and was also given the title of professor of perspective in 1894.
Hector Guimard made several trips around England and Belgium and observed newly designed buildings of those times and collected a lot of inspiration for his own works. Instead of architecture, Guimard started off his practice with interior designing and did the interior of a hotel which led to many other commissions for him including residential projects and other private dwellings. It is said that most of Guimard’s work is related to engineering than architecture but still he presented himself as a fine architect with solid affiliation with Art Nouveau.
The project that earned Guimard a rapid recognition was the Paris dwelling Castel Béranger, 60 rue La Fontaine that was constructed from 1894 to 1897. Other important and notable projects done by Hector Guimard are as follows:
- Pavilion of Electricity at the 1889 World’s Fairin Paris, 1889
- Construction of a small dwelling in Billancourt, 1890
- Hôtel Roszé, 1891
- La Hublotière auVésinet, 1896
- Castel Béranger, 1898
- Villa Bluette, Hermanville, Calvados, 1899
- Coilliot House, 14, rue Fleurus, Lille, 1900
- Entrances to the Paris Métro, 1900
- Salle Humbert-de-Romans, Paris, 1901
- Castel Henriette, , 1901
- Hôtel Deron Levet, Chalet Blanc, 1905
- Hôtel Mezzara, 1910
- Villa Flore, 1924
- Apartment building, rue Henri Heine, Paris, 1926
- Apartment building, rue Greuze, Paris, 1928
Guimard was a sensitive architect paying attention to every minor element from daily living. He was known for valuing every detail with great delicacy. Along with architecture Guimard contributed his skills for furniture making as well and by the year of 1920 his furniture designs succeeded in bagging standardized mass production.
With the passage of time design trends changed and the Art déco style started replacing the old techniques. Guimard didn’t accept these changes which led to the downfall of his work and after his death many of his buildings were destroyed. In 1938 Hector Guimard shifted to New York and stayed there until his last breath and died on May 20, 1942 at the age of 75.