Art Deco Style
1908 – 1935
Art Deco began in Europe, particularly Paris, in the early years of the 20th century but took off after World War I.
Unlike many design movements, mass production meant it wasn’t just for the elite.
Art Deco rejected many traditional classical influences in favour of more streamlined, geometric forms, making use of modern techniques and materials.
Art Deco Style
The style was geometric and angular shapes, bold outlines and ziz-zag forms. As travel was popular in the period, many pieces of foreign design began to appear in the home. African safaris were popular and animal skins, ivory, tortoiseshell and mother of pearl began to appear in the home. Egyptian motifs such as sphinxes and pyramids were also popular.
Materials were chrome, glass, shiny fabrics, mirrors and mirror tiles. Theatrical contrasts were also prevalent, mixing highly polished wood and black lacquer with satin and furs.
Art Deco Furniture
The essential elements of Art Deco furniture were bold geometric shapes based on traditional forms. Materials were Pine or Maple for less expensive lacquered or painted pieces; Mahogany, Walnut, or more exotic woods for finer examples. Sometimes metal or glass. A thirties-style leather club chair, a streamlined birdseye maple bedroom set, or a black lacquered cocktail cabinet are all examples of classic Art Deco furniture. Shapes were strong and streamlined, and furniture was better as single pieces rather than co-ordinating suites.The popular lighting of the time was a female figure holding a glass ball which was lit. The glass of the time was not colored like Art Nouveau but sandblasted,or etched or enamelled.
Art Deco Color
Period colors were fantastic, contrasting combinations: black, chrome and white, yellow, red for hallways and living areas. Bedrooms favoured cream, beige, pale green. Painting design often included in strong geometric shapes. For best effect, this was paired with geometric-pattered rugs, faux leopard skin, and polished floors. Motifs were kept natural- shells, sunrises and flowers were popular. Fabrics were best in a plain or geometric design, and highlights added with cushions in solid blocks of color.
Art Deco Influences
Art Deco’s biggest influence was Art Nouveau. It kept the organic motifs, but discarded the flowing shapes and pastel shades for bolder materials and colors. The glamour of early Hollywood was also drawn into Art Deco design. Shining fabrics, careful lighting, mirrors, cocktail cabinets and smoking paraphernalia were very fashionable.
Famous Designers of the Art Deco Style
Eileen Gray– furniture
Raymond Templier- jewellery
Clarice Cliff- china
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