Belle Époque

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More of a period than a specific style of design, the European Belle Époque began in the late 19th Century and continued until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The period was, in fact, given its name after World War One, as it was felt to be a Golden Age in contrast to the horror of the war. The Belle Époque was emblematic of an optimistic time, when arts, technology, science and cultural innovations were encouraged and flourished. The art and design that emerged from the period is typified by the sense of freedom and pleasure that it evokes. Famous designers working in this style include master cabinetmaker Francois Linke and celebrated metalworker Ferdinand Barbedienne.