With the success of this summer’s blockbuster film The Great Gatsby, the influences of Art Deco have re-emerged in fashion, weddings, and interior design. Art Deco is a style that started post-World War I in France and spread internationally in the 1930’s and 1940’s. There are regional differences but Art Deco is categorized by its embrace of technology, breaking from the organic shapes of Art Nouveau. Art Deco emphasizes symmetry and rectilinear shapes, a celebration of luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. This distinctive style influenced architecture and interior design, as well as consumer products and fashion. Interesting, Art Deco was originally called Moderne, French for Modern. Despite originating at the same time, however, Art Deco is distinctive from the aesthetic we refer to as Modern design today.
In architecture and interior design, Art Deco designers favored expensive materials such as lacquered wood, ivory, and metal details. They experimented with geometric patterns and lines influenced by automobiles and airplanes. Art Deco was a global style that was influenced by the increased connection European and American designers had to Africa and Asia, as well as the heavy influence of the jazz age. Rich materials such as velvet and plush seating softened the hard lines of architectural features. French Art Deco often referenced Classical art while American Art Deco was even more linear and influenced by technology. Many early skyscrapers were built in the Art Deco style, and it’s influence is noticeable in place like Los Angeles Wilshire Boulevard and Miami. In the United States, Art Deco also influenced mass consumer goods where synthetic lacquer and new plastics replaced expensive materials for the growing middle class.
Art Deco’s influence can still be seen in new designs today. The 45 Park Lane Hotel in London embraces the Art Deco aesthetic while updating the look to be fresh today. Do the same in your home by adding a few Art Deco touches, such as these Color and Mirror pieces. Aim for symmetry to capture the streamlined feel of Art Deco and incorporate lacquer or geometric pieces juxtaposed by rich materials.