Art nouveau is an international style in architecture and design that emerged in the 1890s and is characterized by sinuous lines and flowing organic shapes based on plant forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed. This complex international style in architecture and design was parallel to symbolism in fine art. Developed through the 1890s it was brought to a wider audience by the 1900 Exposition Universelle.
In Britain, Charles Rennie Mackintosh designs exemplify the style, but in his work its characteristic flowing lines and organic shapes are seen within severe but eccentric geometry.