A concise history of the Art Deco era
The Art Deco Era From Paris To The World
The art world has seen many styles come and go however for a number of decades from the start to the middle of the 20th century Art Deco was the en vogue design. It spanned the world in its influence and appeal and was particularly popular in Europe and the United States.
Art Deco is characterized by geometric and symmetrical designs that were composed of blocks. One of the main appeals of the Art Deco movement was its colorful designs and grand ornamentation with a distinctly monolithic appearance.
In fact, many Art Deco buildings survive today and at the time of its inception it was highlighted to represent progress and glamour in the interwar period. The New Victoria building in Bradford, England which was used as a cinema for many years is a great example of Art Deco architecture for 1930’s Britain that was directly influenced from the movement in France.
Given the strife and depression of the interwar era Art Deco represented a view of the future. It can trace its origins back to the World’s Fair which was held in Paris in 1925 and otherwise known as the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs. This is generally seen as the event that kick started the Art Deco era as a global phenomenon even though elements of its style had been present in France since the turn of the century.
In fact we can point to La Maison Cubiste (The Cubist House) to one of the early examples of Art Deco in action. Constructed in 1912 the exterior was designed by Raymond Duchamp-Villon and the inside by André Maren in collaboration with other artists. It’s blocky, symmetrical and geometric form was pure Art Deco in design and became an inspiration for the Art Deco movement into the 1920’s to 1950’s.
Art Deco itself provided a glimpse into the future by using materials such as aluminum, chrome, various plastics and stainless steel which deviated from the traditional designs at the time. It’s high contrast and vivid colours were also very modern in nature and further added to the appeal of the movement.
We can find Art Deco influence in many elements of early to mid-20th century design and not just in architecture. It helped to shape how cars were manufactured for instance and also stretched out into forms such as electronics, furniture, art and textiles.
Given its luxurious and grand nature it is no surprise that Art Deco began to wane in popularity after the Second World War. The toll of the conflict and the increase emphasis on austerity and rationing that took place during the war made many people view the Art Deco movement as unnecessarily extravagant. It did experience a brief resurgence in the 1960’s and does influence designers today but since the 1950’s it has largely been confined to history.
Even if Art Deco is not as popular now as it once was it can’t be denied that the movement played an important part in 20th century design. There are many examples of Art Deco buildings still standing and the era spanned across several industries and reached from Paris to the United States, Asia, Africa, South America and the rest of Europe.