The Napoleon III style also called Second Empire style can be summed up in one word: abundance – abundance of inspiration, profusion of materials and a wealth of décor. The décor is the strong point of this period. It was abundant, always using exquisite quality of materials, with plenty of furnishings and fabrics. Second Empire designers loved grand interior architecture elements. The focal points of rooms were fireplace mantels, mirrors, candelabras, sconces and chandeliers. Atlantes and caryatids were symbols of used and were synonymous of luxury.
Under Empress Eugenie’s influence, Louis XVI style furnishings and more precisely the furniture inspired by Marie-Antoinette were all in fashion. This style is often called “Louis XVI- Imperatrice”.
In general, the Napoleon III style is characterized by exuberant shapes, a profusion of decorative motifs, and a naturalism in the representation of human figures – such as those created by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, the sculptor famous for the Dance figure on the Paris Opera.
In the reign of Napoleon III, the city of Paris was transformed by the urbanisation work of the baron Haussmann. The development of investment property changed the city’s architecture. Architects and decorators could develop their talent and let their imagination flow.