Amidst the staid opulence of Habsburg palaces and buildings, you eventually begin to notice a more modern current in Vienna’s architecture. Once you spot it, you can’t help but recognize the golden adornments and colorful facades with organic elements that pop up around the city — a testament to the Art Nouveau movement and the enduring beauty of this now over a century-old style.
The Art Nouveau movement dates back to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Europe and emerged in response to rigid academic styles. Art Nouveau is characterized by decorative elements drawing from natural forms, and encompasses architecture as well as painting, furniture, and other fine and decorative arts. Vienna — as a result of the Secession movement — became a center of the Art Nouveau movement, so it’s no surprise that on a casual stroll through the city you will come across numerous buildings designed or influenced by Otto Wagner and other architect-luminaries of the movement. These range from the facades of residential buildings, to the green cast-iron stalls of the Naschmarkt, to a post-office-turned bank.