What is Art Deco?

A style that lives on and continues to be very popular, Art Deco and its later influence is a design chameleon that has seamlessely blended into modern life.

Art Deco Setting
A lovely Art Deco setting in our Airport West showroom.

Art Deco was not one singular style, but a collection of borrowed, and arguably conflicting styles. It set itself apart from Art Nouveau through use of exotic and expensive materials.

After 1930, influences from modern aerodynamic principles would form the Streamline Moderne offshoot of Art Deco.

Characterised by long curves and sweeping horizontal lining, this style reveled in the simplicity of flowing curves and rounded edges.

This style would become the design philosophy that would shape many iconic vehicles and products.

Art Deco came at a time of major advances in technology that came with the industrial revolution, contributing immeasurably to its impact and later influences.

You need only to look at the skyscrapers of New York City, which in the 1920's and 30's were the tallest skyscrapers ever built, and today stand as the most recognisable modern buildings in the world.

No doubt due to their scale, but the distinctive Art Deco styling of New York's Chrysler building for example is a big part of what makes the New York skyline iconic.

Art Deco faded away at the end of World War II, where modernism would take its place. But the far reaching influence of the Art Deco style has not been forgotten.

The Precursor to Modernism

It's difficult to contextualise the global influence of Art Deco in present day without first exploring late 17th century France, where it all started.

In 1858, 'Arts Décoratifs' the term which Art Deco gets its name from, was first used in the 'Bulletin de la Société française de photographie', or the 'Bulletin of the French Society of Photography'.

In 1875, the French Government gave craftsmen the official status of artists, which prompted the renaming of the 'École royale gratuite de dessin' (Royal Free School of Design) to the 'National School of Decorative Arts', an institution that would play a major role in the development of the Art Deco movement throughout.

This would lead to a major shift in status for decorative artists in France, spanning many fields and disciplines

On The World Stage

In 1925, The International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Art in the heart of Paris would be the grand stage for Art Deco style around the world.

Spanning 55 acres from the Grand Palais to Les Invalides, 15,000 exhibitors from 20 different countries would showcase their wares.




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