Deco Style – Latest Trends


Image from Pantone webinar 2013 Color Forecast for Home + Interiors

Pantone’s Glamor Art Deco Inspired color palette for 2013

Art Deco style is one of the best examples I can conjure to illustrate one of my main design mantras – there is nothing new in design! Here’s a brief history…

Art Deco enjoys a long history of reinvention that predates its recent revival as the style anthem of the roaring ’20’s. Trend Gurus draw on the economic pulse when mapping out trends; divining what you and I crave, fear and their desire to aspire. The decade proceeding the Great Depression was a time associated with economic prosperity and optimism, based on some pretty flimsy foundations – allot like the period preceding the burst of the housing bubble in the 2007. Like Art Deco both periods included some form of metallic gold in pattern or accents. Many people confuse the influence of this very specific style, attributing it to Japanese inspiration (which actually inspired Art Nouveau style ).

a pair of vintage antique gold-leafed chairs sold on King’s Lane

But Art Deco was not even a glimmer in the eye’s of the ancient Persians in 559 BC – 530 BC from whose influence Art Deco’s style story begins…

A Hellenistic architectural arch with distinct Art Deco overtones

nor the Ancient Greeks, who were certain that they coined the imputes for this distinct style of architecture in the Hellenistic period from 323 BC to about 146 BC.

See the architectural similarity between the Ancient Persian architectural detail and the Art Deco example from a hotel in Miami?

Ancient Persian symbol, one of the mightiest ancient empires that competed with Egypt and Greece.

Art Deco Detail from a building in Miami

Emperor Justinian thought he was trend-setting when he sought to reunite the Roman empire headquartering its capital in Constantinople instead of Rome during the Byzantine period around the year 500 (creating the polar effect he intended) setting the stage for social and economic upheaval that mirrored the mood of the contemporary US by 2009 (less the Bubonic plague, of course). But whether or not it was his intent, Justinian looked back to a Golden Age to move forward (as Pantone did last week) building the Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul, that bares more than traces of what we would consider modern Art Deco style, (albeit prior to the addition of electric lighting below).

Hagia Sophia Church and its addition of art deco chandeliers – orianlitaly klickr images

Justinian’s wife, the empress Theodora was an icon of style in her day, a bit over 1500 years ago. But flappers felt like revolutionaries flappers when they adopted her glamorous style (unwittingly as the case may be) in the 1920’s, shortening their hem lines and calling it a trend…

Justinian’s wife, Empress Theodora at the Hagia Sophia and her style reinvented by 1920’s flappers

Flinging forward to the 2000’s, singer Madonna who is well known for both revolution and reinvention of vintage style embraced the rich history of Art Deco in her apartment, featured in Architectural Digest in 2005, that echoes Justinian vision from the Hagia Sophia Chruch.

The material girl’s apartment art deco inspired apartment apartment , in contrast to the architecture at the Hagia Sohphia

Madaonna’s apartment sports a modern chic combined with an unmistakable Art Deco vibe – image from Architectural Digest 2005

So Deco Style nothing is new.

Thousands of years later, Art Deco style has evolved from roots rich in drama, line, pattern, arches, curves and deep color to a style perceived by most contemporary standards as rich yet somewhat dark and brooding. I was surprised by this palette – but deco, like all style is open to interpretation.

Art Deco inspired bedroom – AvaLiving

When I think of Art Dec first images this glamorous period conjures are paintings of Tamara de Lempicka whose work is as signature to the Deco period as Candice Olson is to HGTV’s Divine Design.

Sotheby’s Preview Work Of Tamara De Lempicka Before The New York Auction

I appear not to be alone…

kitchen_aid_art_deco ad featuring art of Tamara de Lempicka

Lempicka’s life rivaled the color and richness of her work, and her signature put a legitimate new spin on the culmination of style we call Art Deco today. When she died in 1980 her ashes were spread over the crater of Mt. Popocateptl, ending a legacy of art that fetched a record $6,130,500 for her portrait of  Portrait, de Madame M. at Sotheby’s auction of her works in 2007 – and I knew where the Glamor palette had gotten its inspiration, the second I saw it!

Portrait de Madame M. by Tamara de Lempicka with Pantone’s 2013 Glamor Palette – image via Screened.com

Work Of Tamara De Lempicka Before The New York Auction at Sotheby’s – images via Sotheby’s

Work Of Tamara De Lempicka Before The New York Auction at Sotheby’s – images via Sotheby’s

So how do you put your thumb print on your own Deco Style?

The real challenge of Art Deco, or any other themed or specific design motif is not to create a “theme park” effect.

Art Deco’s distinctive lines are both a blessing and curse, capable of either punctuating or dating a space –  like adding too much renders your culinary efforts inedible, or in the case of your room – overwhelming and kitchy.

While pink is not a color of the Glamor palette, it is signature to Art Deco design – as are curved-back chairs, swan-necked lines, mahogany finishes, floral repeat patterns and dark sultry colors – this less than literal interpretation creates the vibe without an Art Deco Ambush.

A modern dining space from House to Home UK

Designer Kelly Werstler’s style feels a heavy influence from the Art Deco period, which can be felt in subtle measure in many of her signature spaces.

A stunning Kelly Werstler design with Deco drama – image from her website.

Periods collide in style – while the deco-themed crystal chandelier and mirror may have missed the Eames chair by a couple of decades, in retrospect they come together beautifully, their differences minimized by the white palette.

A modern bedroom with deco accents from modern living magazine online

What’s your version?

Art Deco Pillows – Chiang Mai Dragon – PAIR of 2 – $248 at Shelton Pickard Etsy shop

Art Deco Style Lady Butterfly Ad Refrigerator Magnet – $4.50 on Etsy

deco temed lighting at MyHomeFaceLift.com – $990

About Kimberly Latimer

My background is in fine arts. In addition to residential work in interior design, I have designed both product and packaging for childrens' retail products at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Natural History Museums in the US and Canada. I am an expert in color and my style embraces color, art and up-cycling for a green edge to design.
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4 Responses to Deco Style – Latest Trends

  1. May says:

    I’m putting together some concepts for a health and beauty spa web site in Miami, and found your page very helpful and unique.

    • It’s such an honor to be an aspect of inspiration to your project! I would highly recommend going to Benjamin Moore and looking at their Atmosphere colors. They’re just renamed from other colors, but together they creae a collection with spa like tones. I can send you 3 color names that have really worked in this capacity, if you like :-)

  2. Whew, These last two posts are taking a while for me to digest. Thank you so much for all the info and hard work you put into your blog!

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