One of the most popular styles in interior design is Art Deco, a style popularized in the 1920s in France, when the International Exposition of Modern Industrial Arts of 1925 was held in Paris. It was an event that showcased the works of the most famous and respected designers and artists of the period. The works were mostly avant-garde, modern interpretations and artwork that attempted to illustrate how design evolved and changed. It was as much a style of decorating as it was a movement, a change in attitude and lifestyle. It quickly became a trend in the U.S. as well, lasting into the 1930s. Although it is commonly referred to as Art Deco, the style was actually called Style Moderne at the time.
Art Deco is known by several elements, including angles, balance and clean lines. It also frequently makes use of geometric patterns and shapes and intense and vivid colors. Art Deco furniture often uses chrome, mirrors and glass and incorporates intricate curves. The style is an amalgamation of Aztec, Egyptian and African art forms, frequently combining the most common elements with images related to aviation and other technological advances at the time, such as radio and electricity. A few examples of this design are the iconic Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in New York City. Another example of an Art Deco classic icon is the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California.
The style is also easily characterized by its strong lines, curves, trapezoids, signage, sunburst and stepped patterns, lacquer, inlaid wood, shark skin, zebra, stainless steel, aluminum and metal. It characteristically combines the ultra modern and sleek with luxury and decorative functionality in a seamless manner. The style is interpretive and versatile, a 180-degree departure from the more intricate design elements of the Victorian, Revivalist and Neo-Classical movements. It also countered the styles of the Art Nouveau movement, which was characterized by intricately flowing patterns and its depictions of the female form.
The movement was founded and spurred by many of the most influential French artists of the time, including Jacques-Emile Ruhlman, Jean-Jacques Rateau, Emile Decoeur, Maurice Dufrene, Raoul Lachenal, Eileen Gray, Maurice Marinot, Jean Dunand, Paul Bellot, Eugene Grasset, Edgar Brant, Maurice Dufrene, Hector Guimard, Cartier and Rene Lalique. Their inventive and seminal approach came into expression through media such as architecture, fashion jewelry, furniture and wall decor, etc.
Art Deco fell out of fashion for several decades, but experienced a revival in the 60s, and these days, most people agree that it was a pretty fabulous style that thankfully has been preserved in many places across the globe.