Coming into being between two world wars, art deco was is of the most iconic 20th-century styles. Bold yet orderly; and all about luxury, glamour, extravagance, wealth, and exquisite taste.
Art deco interior style started as a design movement in the 1920s. It went on to flourish in the 1930s despite the Great Depression and panned through the ’40s before giving way to the strictly functional Mid-Century Modern Style. Its name was coined in 1925 during the Exposition Internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes held in Paris.
Cubism, Louis XVI and Louise Philippe I, art nouveau, and Egyptian décor elements all influenced art deco interior style. Below are characteristics of this intriguing style.
- COLOUR PALETTE
Two-color palettes were exclusively used: neutrals and bold, striking colors. The bold colors encompassed vibrant, deep shades of yellows, greens, blues, pinks, and reds. As for neutrals, saturated shades of white and black – that is, cream, beige, heavy black, and chocolate brown – were incorporated.
The emphasis was on the richness of selected color, as richer shades are naturally viewed as deluxe.
Extravagant and expensive materials significantly featured during this period. Remember that this style was all about luxury and glamour, and there is no better way of showing that than by using luxurious, prestigious materials.
Common materials used were gold, stainless steel, chrome, brass, rare wood like ebony, glass, marble, genuine leather, tiles, and exotic animal skins like zebra and sharkskin. Exotic animal skins together with leather were incorporated in upholstery, glass in lighting fixtures and sculptural elements, and the rest for furniture and flooring.
Most furniture pieces were oversized, weighty, and took up ample room space. Furthermore, they were curvaceous, streamlined, and symmetrical in shape with angled legs and stylish handles. Regardless of their enormous sizes, they were glamorous and comfortable.
The upholstery was done in genuine leather and animal skins, while wood, chrome, stainless steel, and vinyl housed the body. It’s important to note that the upholstery and chair furnishings were in either geometric patterns or solid colors. If the chair was in a solid color, for instance, the throw pillow must be in a geometric pattern and vice versa.
The art deco style was renowned for its bold geometric, symmetrical design. It was integrated almost anywhere, from the floors, walls, upholstery; to furnishings, wallpapers, and area rugs. In contrast, florals and plaid patterns were non-existent and never used.
Polished wood parquet, chequered black and white tiles, marble, lacquered wood, and linoleum in abstract designs covered the floor. The emphasis was using materials with a polished shiny finish for that luxurious feel. A large rug, often in a geometric pattern, was then thrown over as an art deco element.
Lighting fixtures were modern and in streamlined designs, had long and vertical silhouettes, contained symmetrical and repeating geometrical patterns, and were made in glass and metallic materials.
The lamp bases were built with either chrome or bronze, and the rest with white, Tiffany-colored glass. Sometimes, the glass was etched or enameled to add to the allure.
Despite being set in the ’20s, art deco oozes luxury, extravagance, wealth, modernity, and prestige. It was committed to boldness and opulence, and as such used equally audacious and prestigious materials to achieve its look.