Deco, popular originally in the 1920s and 30s, took its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, an exhibition held in Paris in 1925. There the style was first seen in the work of French designers who had been in experimenting and refining it for some years. Its origins are rooted in a reaction to the flowing motifs and fussiness of Art Nouveau with its emphasis on individual craftman made pieces. After the First World War people wanted a modern, functional style for their furniture, jewellery and decorative objects. More positively, it was influenced by the streamlined designs of ocean liners and industrial machinery. The Tutankamun Exhibition, held in Paris in 1922, also had an impact and there was a cross-fertilisation of ideas between architects and designers of costumes, stage and ballet sets, jewellery, furniture, ceramics and glass.
Art Deco Ocean Liner, Have a Wonderful Cruise
Many of the Art Deco designers rejected traditional materials for their work and chose instead to work with more unusual materials like ebony, steel, marble and rare and expensive types of wood. Their designs were geometric with clean unfussy lines. Art Deco was seen in many different areas like architecture, furniture, pottery, glass and jewellery.
British furniture designers of the period, like Heal and Son and Gordon Russel, had their own less extravagant interpretation of Art Deco more suited to the British market. They used more familiar woods like limed oak, walnut and chestnut rather than the exotic woods seen in French design. Emphasis was on functionality and using decoration to enhance the natural beauty of the wood.
Copyright © 2001 Carol Fisher