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Art Deco Design

History Of Art Deco Design

Art deco design is one of the rare forms of indigenous art and design style that become quite famous over a very short time across different countries. In the mid-1920s art deco came into existence in the form of an international design movement. The movement was characterized by various art and design styles and disciplines. Art deco design had its influence in almost everything from architecture, interior design, paintings, fashion world and even movies.

In the year 1925, artists from all over the world held a common meet in Paris. It was one of the most high profile event organized by the International Exhibit of Decorative Arts and Modern Industries to showcase and present future prospects in the advancement of art design and style. The growing popularity of art deco influenced artists in Europe and in 1930s it had its robust influence in the United States, however most design movements were under political influence, Art deco design were considered unique in their style and elegance.

Art deco design in America quickly adjusted with the American culture and presented a series of world class form of Art deco design based on simple visual appeal. Style Moderne defined the Art deco design of the existing times of 1920’s and 1930’s America.  A good economy existence despite the events of the World War I provided good conditions for the art deco to flourish more vividly. It surpassed many traditional design movements such as Neo-Classical, Revivalist, and Victorian design. The versatility in style, made art deco designs flourish rapidly across the globe in the 1930’s time frame.

Art deco design in the earlier phase of the 20th century represented a withdrawal from the Art Noveau movement. Art Noveau was dedicated to the beautiful curves and natural themes, such as bird, trees and flowers. Whereas, Art Deco design were a contribution to the man-made world. The changes in the beginning of the 20th century to industrial and technological advancement were captured by Art Deco movement and had a positive and progressive spirit.

The Main Characteristics Of Art Deco Design

Art deco designs are characterized by the following:

  • The use of distinctive geometric shapes such as circle, diamonds, octagonal, hexagonal, zigzag, triangles, pyramids and so on & so forth.
  • Passionate look of the designs
  • Usage of bright colors
  • Most used symbols: sunbursts, frozen fountain relief, life of animals and plants, lightning strikes, structures signifying justice, knowledge, honesty, men’s strength, work ethics, business & commerce.
  •  Vertical and horizontal lines
  • Simplicity and straightforwardness
  • Set-back – the upper part of buildings were set-back in stages so that sun reaches the sidewalks.
  • Pleasing to the eye – decorative use of limestone, terracotta and metal. Mural paintings and mosaic tiles are some of the example.
  • Variety in materials used – Combined use of different stones, slabs and metals. Also used were tiles, opaque glass and terracotta.

The decorative look and linear and angular composition gave Art deco design a stylized and a highlighted decoration. It exhibits lot of varieties in deigns. Highly intense color makes it an abstract form of art and in addition it is characterized by rationalization and equilibrium.

Influence On Art Deco Design And Its Significance In Modern Era

Art deco movement was influenced by many other art movements. The existing natural forms were declined and new geometrical shapes were used instead. The art and painting craved from nature are distorted or overstated; Art deco artists used bright colors to intensify the expressions of nature. Also, rapid movements greatly influenced Art deco.

Art deco design had its strong influence on the Jazz age. Parisian nightclubs character Josephine Baker and American nightclubs have been a part of the Art deco. The glamour and the high life in the 1920’s all played a significant role in defining the trend of new art dimension brought in through Art deco designs.


Art deco design influence can easily be noticed in the fashion and jewelry world of the 1920’s. The dress worn by nightclub flappers truly signifies the characteristics of the Style Moderne. Art deco design could easily be noticed by the triangular and chevron style that appeared in the costumes of the 1920s. Towards the end of the 1920s, Art Deco lines usage could even be noticed in the zigzag styled handkerchief hems that were in fashion.

Art deco also resembled some of the finest art and architecture in the 1920s. Rene Lalique, an iconic name in the Art deco period, made remarkable curving figures and worked to provide the best of art deco design. The perfect example of the Art deco symbol of art is the skyscraper, most astonishing example being the Chrysler Building in New York.

Continuing Heritage Of Art Deco Design

The most unique thing about the Art deco movement is that it survived the drastic changes in the 1920’s with ease. Art deco design was enormously influential on the art that was to come. Even today, many jewelry designs are designed in the form of Moderne and are quite famous. Art deco designs had strong influence from the most expensive jewelry to Bakelite bangles. The feasibility and versatility has inspired the art culture across the universe. Many iconic buildings are dedicated to the Art deco design and the essence will always remain in the United States and across different continents of the world.

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