An example of successful non-literal expression in the built form dates back to the early 19th century when Art Nouveau emerged as a new aesthetic. Going against historical models, French architect, Hector Guimard, designed the striking, and now revered, Paris Metro entrances in quintessential Art Nouveau style with sinuous, organic lines and stylised stalks.
His aim was to use non-literal expressions to visually enhance the underground travel experience on Paris’ new subway system. Formerly associated with the luxury market, Guimard brought Art Nouveau into the popular culture realm. His unique design differentiated the Parisian transport system from conventional models and evoked an emotional response from commuters by enhancing the travel journey. Guimard’s design successfully influenced public connection with, and perception of, Paris’ transport system through non-literal expression.