Over the years many new movements in art and design appear, make their mark on the world and then are pushed into the background by the next new thing. When you look back, many styles are clearly very much of their time and would look out of place in the modern world. Art Deco, on the other hand, whilst classically elegant always looks curiously current and fits seamlessly into the 21st century. This is one style which never really seems to have gone away and whilst the influence of other movements has faded into the background, Art Deco still makes its mark on the designs of today.
Art Deco initially appeared on the scene in France in the 1920’s but in the decade that followed, quickly spread across the world influencing design in architecture, art, jewelry and even fashion. It was a highly eclectic style drawing on influences from several artistic movements and beautifully combining traditional and natural imagery with modern angular forms. Art Deco was all about bold geometric shapes, sumptuous ornamentation and sharp angles. It was certainly the very essence of glamour and so it is not difficult to appreciate why its influence remains so strong today. The striking color contrasts and juxtaposition of soft, luxurious fabrics with polished wood and expanses of black lacquer and stone made an instant impression and still appear classy yet avant-garde today.
The bold, iconic architecture of the era still stands as testament to the beauty and functionality of the style. The clean lines, geometric detailing, stepped profiles and use of color were very much of a movement looking forwards and not back. The buildings of this period sit well next to modern constructions and still look classy today. The Empire State Building in New York and the Art Deco district of Miami are really something to behold but art deco was not all about appearance. Many fine industrial premises were constructed in the Art Deco style proving that a functional building can still be a thing of beauty. The main arteries into London from the west were lined with fine examples of the style and were constructed in the pre-media age to act as advertisements for the organisations they housed. The Hoover Building is the best known example and remains one of the most loved buildings in the capital.
Fine jewelry was the perfect vehicle for the glamour and rich ornamentation of the Art Deco Style. Fine diamonds set into geometrically shaped settings, black and white contrasts, zigzags, chevrons and a touch of glamour were the defining features of Art Deco pieces. Echoes of the style are still common today in necklaces, earrings and even diamante brooches. Angular forms with sumptuous sparkle were the order of the day and the designs translate well into modern pieces of both fine and costume jewelry. There is nothing more glamorous than Art Deco jewelry as a compliment to an evening gown or cocktail dress and yet the more simple styles are the perfect accent for day wear too. Perhaps it is the flexibility and relative simplicity of Art Deco that has made it so enduring.
Whether as an interior design scheme for a bathroom, an elegant piece of jewelry or a stunning piece of architecture, Art Deco is a much loved style that will probably never fall out of favor. Equally at home in a period or modern setting Art Deco is wonderfully current whilst remaining indicative of an era of opulence and new found freedom.
WORDS: Sally Stacey. Sally is a regular blogger who has a great love of the Art deco style. She worked near to the Hoover Building for several years and very much enjoyed her recent visit to the Empire State Building.