Décor Dictionary: Art Deco

This was a though little cookie to define – hence the long definition! Art Deco was influenced by many design styles as the very late 1800s and better half of the 1900s ushered in the golden period of design, namely Modernism. It also made a big stylistic impression on the styles that followed it – think Pop Art, Hollywood Glam, contemporary Eclectic design and maybe even a bit on popular Mid-Century Modern. The master of Art Deco design was renowned furniture and interior designer Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann

The very Art Deco Mutual Building in Cape Town, South Africa

I think, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in South Africa is the beautiful Mutual Building in the centre of Cape Town. Next time your in the CBD be sure to take a few minutes to admire it or check out all the gorgeous images: here

Traditional Art Deco interiors: On the left an drawing room interior by Ruhlmann circa 1934, and on the right an Art Deco lounge (source unknown)
Contemporary interiors with some Art Deco features. Notice the zebra skin on the left.

Art Deco: is a highly decorative design style that originated in Paris in the early 1920s and flourished internationally, tapering off in popularity towards the 1940s. Considered to be a lavish, eclectic form of elegant and stylish Modernism, it was also said to be influenced by Cubism and Futurism and various other design styles. Art Deco design made use of symmetrical geometric shapes – faceted forms, trapezoidal, chevron patterns, ziggurat-shapes, sunburst motifs, and jumbled shapes – inspired by Greco-Roman, Egyptian, African and Aztec designs. Art Deco furniture frequently featured marquetry, inlay, enamelling and other techniques to create surface interest. The use of opulent, exotic woods and materials such as stingray and zebra skin was also evident. Vivid, bold colours was often used but later subdued into a white, black, and metallic colour palette that is often identified with Art Deco today. Furniture and interiors combined sleek curves with angular forms often reminiscent of simplified earlier decorative styles.

I think the Palm Court lounge in Shanghai (image on the left) is a gorgeous contemporary interpretation of Art Deco. Right is a bold black & white contemporary Art Deco room in the Hotel Borg, Iceland.
Images via:
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