By the year 1900, Vienna was becoming a center of activity for architects and designers like Josef Hoffmann. Hoffmann was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, a radical anti-historicist movement, and together with Koloman Moser, created the Wiener Werkstatte cooperative workshop.
Although Hoffmann's designs for the decorative arts were influenced by the British Arts & Craft movement, he embraced the advent of the industrial age and concentrated on abstract and geometric shapes in his work. While he did not reject traditional decoration out of hand, he succeeded in making it serve structural principles which he believed should determine the form of buildings, interiors and objects. Hoffmann studied architecture at the Vienna Academy where he was taught by Otto Wagner. Between 1901 and 1905, he designed four villas in Vienna and a sanatorium for which he developed a "cubistic" language of form with its emphasis on straight, unadorned lines."
taken from DWR website.
"In 1905, he established the Kuntschau with painter Gustav Klimt and two years later, founded the Destscher Werkbund. Like Otto Wagner, his early projects were conceived as Gesamtkunstwerke (total works of art) and he produced both free-standing and built-in furniture for his interiors, pared-down rectilinear pieces, elongated to emphasize their structural role. Hoffmann is well-known for the simple, restrained, yet visually interesting dining chairs, several intended for cafés, that he designed early in the 20th century. His "birdhouse" chair, for example, reveals his way of using a decorative feature to emphasize structure. Hoffmann worked well into his eighth decade, continuing to use the geometric motifs that would influence the Art Deco Style of the 1920s."
renderings by Josef Hoffmann
"The Vienna Secession was founded on April 3, 1897 by artists Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Otto Wagner, and others. The Secession artists objected to the prevailing conservatism of the Vienna Künstlerhaus with its traditional orientation toward Historicism. The Berlin and Munich Secession movements preceded the Vienna Secession, which held its first exhibition in 1898.
Also in 1898, the group's exhibition house was built in the vicinity of Karlsplatz. Designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich, the exhibition building soon became known simply as "the Secession" (die Sezession).
The group earned considerable credit for its exhibition policy, which made the French Impressionists somewhat familiar to the Viennese public. The 14th Secession exhibition, designed by Josef Hoffmann and dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, was especially famous. A statue of Beethoven by Max Klinger stood at the center, with Klimt's Beethoven frieze mounted around it.
In 1903 Hoffmann and Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte as a fine-arts society with the goal of reforming the applied arts (arts and crafts).On June 14, 1905 Gustav Klimt and other artists left the Vienna Secession due to differences of opinion over artistic concepts."