What is Art Deco?

art deco building

Ah yes, the glamour of the 20s. A lavish display of wealth, over the top ornamentation, and, of course, flowing rivers of champagne. 

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. This is where, in 1925, Art Deco started to amaze people and capture their imagination, generating a genuinely emotional response out of art lovers everywhere. Read on to discover what this architectural and artistic style is all about.

What Truly Sets it Apart

Inspired by Aztec and Egyptian art, this genuinely creative mix of modernism, angular and geometric patterns, and symmetries can capture anyone’s attention.

Also called “Cubism Tamed,” Art Deco elements were borrowed from Cubism, representing Constructivism and Suprematism. Fauvism and Futurism were also pieces to the puzzle that we proudly call Art Deco. 

The Story Behind the Magic

A disruptive, groundbreaking architectural style must have a long and controversial story. People don’t just accept something right away, it takes time, and Art Deco is no exception.

Luxury, opulence, and a whole lot of glam. Welcome to the 20s. Art Deco had just started to take off, but what’s success without some bumps along the way? The Great Depression, along with WWI’s consequences, made it seem like this architectural style just didn’t fit in with that time’s need for restraint and austerity. People were suffering, and the era of glam was long gone.

The 60s, however, brought a little bit of optimism, and artists started to gravitate towards Art Deco. 

Some time passed and FINALLY, in the 80s, an era of economic growth and breakthroughs in technology, paved the way for this futuristic movement to truly shine in all aspects of design. 

Where it Shined

Some might think that Art Deco could only be present in, well… art in the traditional sense of the word. Paintings to be more exact. Even if artists like Paul Colin and Jean Carlu adopted Art Deco while creating their famous poster-style art pieces, the movement also took over other sectors.

The bold lines and futuristic design that Art Deco represented led to the construction of some of the most iconic skyscrapers in the 20th century.

Famous buildings like The Chrysler Building, the Chicago Board of Trade Building, and Radio City Music Hall all pay homage to this style that was somehow ahead of its time. 

But a style as versatile and magical as this one deserves territory to expand. Thus, it ultimately took over all aspects of design, from furniture, jewelry, textiles, industrial design, and even bookbinding. Art Deco took the world by storm, and people loved every last bit of it. 

Where is it Now?

As we’re always evolving as a society, in every aspect possible, from a technological point of view to an artistic sense, Art Deco never went “out of style.” 

But the perception of it changes a little along the way. Instead of the glam of a past era, today, it embodies the mix of sleek shapes, sophistication, and leisure. This combination really hits it out of the part in 2020 and, without a doubt, in the years to come.

Even if it’s not what it used to be, who knows, history always repeats itself. Maybe we’ll get to enjoy the “Gatsby-era” again in the future.

Are you an architecture and design aficionado? Check out our piece about the Bauhaus to dive deep into another style that’s still influencing us today.

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