« An archetypal architectural form, the arc or arched vault has been around since antiquity. »
A key element in the most beautiful religious buildings of all denominations, it has travelled through time and is now making a comeback in contemporary interiors, enhancing them with its intrinsic purity.
The oldest types of arch were discovered in underground Egyptian or Babylonian structures, but it’s the Romans who truly made his floating means of construction their own. A major element in Arab architecture, widely used in mosques, the arc – also called a semi-circular vault or cradle vault – was widely favoured in Roman churches in the west in the Middle Ages. If the aesthetic preference of the Gothic movement was for lancet arches, for essentially structural reasons the arch has remained through the centuries the symbol of undeniable purity and delicacy. Hence, at the end of the 19th century, the arch became part of the classical decorative language of Art Nouveau, while the architectural motif featured in Haussmannian interiors as a kind of emblematic ornamentation much like mouldings and herringbone parquet flooring.
Designer: Studio 2+
In the 20th century, however, the arrival of steel and the technical progress that made wide, straight spans possible eclipsed this archetypal shape. Judged too decorative by the great modern practitioners such as Le Corbusier or even Mies Van der Rohe, it lost out in popularity to the linear and geometric rigour that has characterised modern buildings for a long time.
But today the keystone of pleasing decor – that is, decor that matches our fundamental aspirations – seems to be circular shapes in the very heart of our interiors.
Architect :Batiik Studio
According to feng shui consultant Aude Martin Cocher, ‘Urban living drains our energy, and we try to recharge in our interiors. Round or curved shapes are highly symbolic and respond to a desire for stability, serenity and plentitude.’
Search for both meaning and delicacy, our era is smoothing away angles and taking its codes from the original repertoire of arcs: alcoves, archways and other vaults are well suited to the creation of special living spaces, to dreaming and to spirituality.
Directly linked to this trend for curves is the design world’s appropriation of the architectural repertoire – it plays with academic aesthetics all the better to rewrite them to bring delicacy and imagination into interior design. We’ve come full circle!
Trompe l’oeil archways, archways on facades, in cascade effect or in interiors… We’ve brought you a few of our favourite arches…
Designer: Jayme Hayon
Architect : Johnston Marklee
Design : Sancal
Architect : Ricardo Bofill
Artist : Tiffany Lusteg
Architect : TRACKS
Architect : Xavier Corbero