Art Deco – Reviving France Right Here in America
So what exactly was the essence of Art Deco style…Certainly we’ve all heard the term at one time or another. Generally, most know that it was a period of architecture and design that dominated the 1920s and 30s, but what exactly did this design aesthetic known as Art Deco embody?
To better understand the beginnings of this popular movement in American architectural history, we begin with France, Paris to be exact. A group in the late nineteenth century calling themselves the Society of Decorative Artists were seeking to make a statement about style and design. They essentially sought to elevate the decorative arts by making them more relevant to the times. In the midst of an Industrial Revolution, this group of Parisian architects, artists and designers emphasized intricacy and opulence while paying homage to the more streamlined functionality of a mechanical age—Art Deco was thus born.
At Classic Home Improvements, we have worked with a number of clients interested in integrating some of the fundamental design elements of Art Deco into their modern home—and we love this merger of the “old” and the new. We especially love the tradition and legacy of this style, as we genuinely appreciate how such a unique architectural period can put its stamp on history in general.
Art Deco’s Roots in American Design & Architecture
In the 1920’s the United States was ready for flair, for elegance, for design that tantalized the sense. Having just emerged from the dark and dreary days of the Great Depression and a World War, the country in the 1920’s was about the age of Jazz, of flappers, of trying to reignite the fun and uniqueness inherent in the world around them This Art Deco style represented the perfect solution to a country looking to celebrate all that was expressive and elegantly beautiful.
Ultimately borrowing from the French school, Art Deco designers and architects reinvented the style to fit the American way of life. The American version emphasized the modern and the streamlined even more so than what was seen in Europe. It was about growing from the rubble of a gloomy historical period. And growing is exactly what Art Deco professionals of this era did. The skyscraper with its sleek lines, metallic elements, expanses of concrete and glass is a perfect emblem of this particular design style. The rest just seemed to follow suit.
Art Deco Design Elements
So what are those essential hallmarks of Art Deco design…What types of architectural features are involved with this particular school of architecture. Whether engaged in a whole house renovation, a home remodel design or a new build, incorporating elements of Art Deco design can certainly lend a great deal of interest and depth to your project. Here are a few key ones:
- Hard Edges and Sleek Lines: Again, as evident in the structure and shape of the skyscraper, Art Deco prized those sleek and smooth lines that had a decidedly modern feel. Hard edges, squared off shapes and geometric figures were prominent features in the overall look and feel of Art Deco.
- Mirrored and Shiny Surfaces: In the age of the industrial, in the wake of machines, designers sought to represent this via surfaces and materials that had that glossy, lacquered appeal. Lacquered furniture in fact became a staple of this type of design. Mirrored surfaces were generously integrated within the scope of many design remodels.
- Streamlined Patterns That Were Uniquely Ornate: A bit of a contrast, but the way in which American Art Deco designers created patterns that emphasized both the embellished roots of the French school and still stayed true to the streamlined aesthetic of the US Art Deco movement was something to behold. Chevrons, zigzags, and sunbursts were all classical Art Deco patterns used to reinvent any room of the home. They took the ornate and magnificently modernized it.
- Simple Glamour: Think The Great Gatsby. The materials used were prized for their own innate beauty. Things such as ebony, onyx, gold and silver. Materials that could stand alone without excessive embellishment and yet still seem rich and fabulous. Art Deco stylists looked for items that lacked fussiness but that still exuded that hint of elegant romance.
- It’s All About the Symmetry: Attention to the symmetrical details was crucial when it came to Art Deco design. Perhaps motivated by the rise of the industrial, focus on symmetry was very much at the center of the Art Deco design mindset when it came to home design.
At Classic Home Improvements, we enjoy working with any style, any type of design-remodel project and any form of architecture. So whether you’re looking to build that quintessential Art Deco design home, or just add accents that embrace this unique design era, we would certainly love to talk to you about your project. Call today for a free consultation!