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Art Deco

Popularised in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the word ‘Art Deco’ and its associated style emanated from the 1925 Parisian Exhibition ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes’. This title, translated to ‘International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts’, epitomises the aspiration of the French design community; to define the post-war style with distinctive French modern artisan and craftsmanship and captivating international appeal.

Art Deco recognised formative influences from the geometry of cubism to the industrialist style of constructivism, whilst emphasising a new take on modern luxury with the use of contemporary materials such as chrome and bakelite. Lacquered exotic and rich hard woods allowed furniture design to incorporate natural wood grains whilst retaining the reflective and sleek characteristics of progressive man-made materials. Stylistically, Art Deco design, objects and furniture incorporated these materialistic qualities with common elements such as geometric zigzags, chevrons and bright colours. Altogether, Art Deco style symbolised the dynamic energy of the 1920’s and new found opulence that contrasted the former decades.

The rise and decline of Art Deco coincided with post-war global prosperity followed by the financial collapse associated with The Wall Street Crash in 1929. As the Great Depression shrouded the economy during the1930’s, Art Deco style followed suit as mass production, cheaper materials and muted designs continued to provide Art Deco influence during times of austerity.