Peaked in the Roaring Twenties, Art Deco designs rose to prominence after World War I where America and parts of Western Europe witnessed dramatic technological and economic progress.
Art Deco designs are distinctively modern, with a heavy emphasis on exuberance, glamour, the ‘wow’ factor, which reflects the spirit of the American Dream, as well as the economic prosperity in the 1920s.
Golden and silver geometric shapes, exotic materials, the sleekness of furniture and interior decoration, all are emblematic of the Art Deco aesthetics. The blinding glamour of Art Deco remained the vogue until the Wall Street Crash in 1929.
The history of Art Deco
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The Art Deco style had long existed before it was properly named ‘Art Deco’.
Originated in Paris and Brussels before the World War I, the name ‘Art Deco’ is short for its original French term, Arts Décoratifs.
At the end of the 19th century, Paris, being one of the most prosperous European cities, gave birth to a breed of artist, the decorative artists.
These artists are originally furniture, textile, jewelry and glass designers.
As artists they are daring, creative and expressive, but the most important thing is that they produced purchasable decorations that can be used in homes.
Art Deco was a fusion of Cubism, Fauvism and the aesthetics of Ballets Russes, the Russian ballet company founded in Paris in 1909. It was a chaotic mixture of sterile shapes, wild brushwork and severe elegance of ballet. Somehow the decorative artists made it work.
We see Art Deco making a comeback in the recent years, thanks to the 2013 Hollywood rendition of The Great Gatsby novel.
Art Deco on the silver screen
The Great Depression in the 1930s caused the Art Deco movement to become more subdued. When we think about Art Deco, we are more likely to associate it with the scenes shown in the Gatsby movie, which is set in the 1920s.
Fancy to bring home some of that Gatsby vibe? Let’s look at a break down of the Art Deco interior style below. (Sorry, you can’t bring Leonardo DiCaprio home.)
Sleek, streamlined furniture
Art Deco furniture often feature geometrical patterns constructed by straight lines. Sometimes furniture designs are also streamlined and gilded, which exude luxury and perhaps an air of vanity.
It is not rare to see a fusion of Art Deco and the Modern style, which is a style more suitable for contemporary use.
Create an air of opulence with Art Deco lights
Purchasing an Art Deco light is probably the simplest way to fashion your home into a Gatsby set.
Art Deco lights can come in various styles, for example, the chandelier, the wall light, the hanging light and the table lamp. Nonetheless, they are designed to look luxurious and polished.
Choose chrome-plated and copper plated finishes for an extra touch of extravagance.
Lamps with a Cubist design are also distinctively Art Deco; utilise their curves and planes to create an artsy feeling in the interior.
Cubism puts a lot of emphasis on fragmentation and reconfiguration of daily accessible shapes.
As an alternative interpretation of geometry, shape angles, ladder-like lines, courageous curves and unrefined silhouettes are the Cubist artists’ way of communicating a brave hope towards the future.
Highly-polished and lacquered wooden surfaces, shiny acrylic and smooth metallic plating are great items that convey the languor of Art Deco designs.
In addition, glass and mirrored surfaces can also give your Art Deco interior an extra-surreal effect.
Fabric made of minimally processed materials is not suitable for creating an Art Deco style. Raw, natural materials are best for the Rustic style, where a down-to-earth humbleness is the emphasis.
For an Art Deco style, opt for artificial fibre, silk and satin textile products.
Pay attention to the patterns of the textile since they can make a world of difference. Golden cushions and carpets with geometric shapes are in unity with the Art Deco style.
The Art Deco palette
As the emblematic Art Deco colour scheme, the monochromatic palette is especially suitable for creating a geometric visual effect.
Apart from black, white, gold and silver, use colours like mustard, purple, and peacock blue generously.
Art Deco wallpaper is a great way to give your home a grand makeover. For an extra flare, opt for gilded and textured designs.
In the contemporary living environment, a full-fledged Art Deco style might be too impractical for daily life. Who can party like Daisy Buchanan 24/7?
That’s why the Art Deco style in these days is usually fused with Minimalist designs. For example, storage furniture with an Art Deco exterior, Art Deco mirrors and silver table legs.
A tip from Deco-Man: symmetrical furniture and ornaments are great accent pieces for the Art Deco style. Not only does symmetry put the beauty of uniform silhouettes under the spotlight, it also amplifies the visual effect of a well-designed print.