The 1920s saw the beginning of the Art Deco trend in architecture and decorative arts, often known as style moderne. Modernism as it transformed into fashion was reflected in Art Deco style. The goal was to create an anti-traditional, modern elegance that exuded richness and sophistication. Both expensive handcrafted things and mass-produced goods were among its offerings. We’ll discuss significant facets of the Art Deco era in this article, including its origins or influences, defining key characteristics, and art deco architecture around the globe.
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The French Arts Décoratifs movement was first introduced in the visual arts, architecture, and product design during the 1910s. It first acquired popularity in the United States and Europe from the 1920s through the early 1930s. Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts), held in Paris in 1925, is where the phrase “modern decorative and industrial arts” first originated.
Art Deco had an impact on the exterior and interior styling and design of both large and little objects, as well as how individuals appear (via their clothing, jewels, and fashion). It also had an effect on household items like radios and vacuum cleaners, as well as on furniture, buildings (including skyscrapers and movie theatres), bridges, ships, and ocean liners, as well as on trains, cars, trucks, and buses.
Origin of the Art Deco Moment
Art Nouveau, the Bauhaus, Cubism, and Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes were significant precursors of Art Deco. American Indian, Egyptian, and early classical literature as well as natural phenomena were taken into consideration while designing interior spaces. Pre-modern art, archaeology, Futurism, Orphism, Functionalism, and Modernism, among others, were all borrowed and used as decorative styles. Common images included bare-chested women, animals, realistic-looking flora, and sunrays.
Cubism’s decorative potential was reached when it was used to produce fabrics or wallpaper with an Art Deco influence. The sharp contrast between horizontal and vertical volumes, which is exclusive to Russian Constructivism and the Frank Lloyd Wright-Willem Marinus Dudok line, is a common method for articulating Art Deco facades.
Art Deco textile, wallpaper, and painted ceramic designs were influenced by the clashing hues and patterns of Fauvism, particularly in the works of Henri Matisse and André Derain. In addition to using high fashion terminology, it also made use of geometric patterns, chevrons, zigzags, and stylized flower arrangements. Art Deco was frequently influenced by a love of modern technology in the early 1930s, which gave rise to the Streamline Moderne movement.
The Art Deco style fused luxury and modernity through the use of expensive materials and expert craftsmanship in cutting-edge designs. It was used as decoration in first-class salons on cruise ships, first-class trains, skyscrapers, and movie theatres. A more melancholy change in fashion was brought on by the Great Depression.
The style is characterised by straightforward, usually “streamlined” forms, geometric or stylized decoration derived from representational shapes, and particularly pricey materials. Some examples of materials that regularly include both organic and inorganic elements are rock crystal, jade, silver, ivory, obsidian, and polymers like Bakelite, Vita-glass, and ferroconcrete. The distinctive characteristics of the Art Deco style, such as its relatively straightforward design, planarity, symmetry, and frequent recurrence of parts, imply a fondness for the intrinsic design virtues of technology despite the dearth of mass-produced Art Deco goods.
For instance, between 1922 and 1925, Armand-Albert Rateau designed Jeanne Lanvin’s boudoir. By 1928, deep leather club chairs had been added, boosting the design’s comfort.
The Alavoine study is now on display at the Brooklyn Museum. It was created in the years 1928 to 1930. In Paul Ruaud’s Glass Salon, the serpentine and tubular seats were installed in place on a mat silvered glass slab floor in 1932. By the 1930s, the opulent aesthetic had been toned down.
Art Deco in Architecture around the World
Two apartment complexes, one by Auguste Perret on rue Benjamin Franklin and the other by Henri Sauvage on rue Trétaigne, were constructed in Paris in 1903 and 1904. The first examples of the art deco architectural style can be seen in these buildings. When the two young architects employed reinforced concrete in residential buildings in Paris for the first time, they entirely departed from the art nouveau aesthetic. The new buildings’ exteriors were simple, with a rectangular shape and straight lines.
The ocean liner SS Normandie had Art Deco interior decor on her maiden voyage in 1935, which included a dining space with a ceiling and Lalique glass ornaments. More than merely architectural aspects were emphasised through the usage of Art Deco.
The height of the Art Deco movement was characterised by American skyscrapers, which rose to become the world’s tallest and most recognisable modern structures. The height, form, colour, and illumination of these structures revealed the status of their architects. The American Radiator Building, designed by Raymond Hood in 1924, incorporated Gothic and Art Deco features, with gold bricks covering the façade to represent the sun. Wirt C. Rowland employed stainless steel as a decorative feature and coloured graphics in place of conventional ornamentation when designing Detroit’s Guardian Building.
The skyline of New York City was also altered by the Raymond Hood-designed RCA Building (1933) and the William F. Lamb-designed Empire State Building (1931), which both featured Art Deco crowns, stainless steel spires, and gargoyles that resembled radiator ornaments. Chicago and other major American cities saw the emergence of comparable structures.
In cities like London, Moscow, and Berlin, as well as other European capitals, residential and public architecture were all influenced by the Art Deco style, which was first made popular in Paris. Despite the fact that the initial examples of Art Deco architecture could be located in Europe, by 1939 there were major cities on every continent and in almost every country.
European architects commonly produced Asian Art Deco buildings. However, there were a number of well-known native architects in the Philippines, like Juan Nakpil, Juan Arellano, and others. Many prominent Art Deco buildings were demolished in the late 20th century as Asia experienced fast economic growth, although some significant examples of the style’s architecture still exist, particularly in Shanghai and Mumbai.
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During the time of European colonial rule, the bulk of Art Deco buildings in Africa were built, typically by architects from Portugal, France, and Italy.
Three notable Art Deco buildings may be found in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia: the Manchester Unity Building, Castlemaine Art Museum, and Grace Building. In New Zealand, towns like Napier and Hastings that were rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake have been protected and repaired; Napier has even been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Numerous Art Deco structures may be seen in major cities like Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Ontario, and Vancouver, with some of the best examples being found in Mexico and the United States. While New Mexico combines Pueblo Revival with Territorial Style, the best examples can still be seen in the Miami Beach Architectural District.
It was believed that architecture was primarily aesthetically pleasing, ornamental, and decorative. The style immediately became popular in post-war culture because it expressed all that was up-to-date, opulent, and gorgeous. The people loved this new appearance since the 1920s were a happy and upbeat decade. Most famous Art Deco designers produced handcrafted or inexpensively produced things. Of course, they also talked about how to make sculptures, paintings, and structures, as well as how to make jewellery, glass, and furniture. Since a thriving economy was represented by Art Deco, people felt upbeat about the future.