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 ).
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…
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?
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).
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…
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.
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.
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.
I appear not to be alone…
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!
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.
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.
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.
What’s your version?
- New! Pantone Home – Interiors Color Forecast 2013 (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- Art Deco DC Superheroes By Dave Ault (geektyrant.com)
- Art Nouveau – Art Déco (aaselind.wordpress.com)
- art deco (burnettsboards.com)
- Art deco decadence – in the style of The Artist (film) (ratedpeople.com)
- Visit Gotham City: Art Deco Superhero Travel Posters (geekologie.com)
- Pantone 2013 Home + Interiors Color Trends – Fantasies & Realities – All 9 Palettes! (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- Color Trends 2013 – Write your own Color Story (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)