For those who wish they could live in The Great Gatsby and can’t pass up a geometric pattern, Art Deco style can bring all the glamour of the Roaring ’20s to a 21st-century space. Symbolizing a time of great change worldwide, Art Deco, short for Arts Décoratifs, is often synonymous with bold, geometric architecture and luxurious, extravagant graphics as well as rich colors and decadent detail work.Ultimately, the Art Deco style is a pastiche of many styles, all coming together in a desire for modernism.
Spanning from the beginning of World War I to the beginning of World War II, the style affected design, both commercial and independent, on a massive scale and continues to be seen in fashion, jewelry, and furniture today. Art Deco was embraced by many artists regardless of the field they were working in, from architecture and interior design to painting, sculpture, ceramics, fashion and jewelry. Ultimately, the Art Deco style is a pastiche of many styles, all coming together in a desire for modernism. There were many influences, from the geometric forms of Cubism, bright colors of Fauvism, the craftsmanship of Louis XVI, and the exotic influences of Asian and Egyptian art.
Named after the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925, the movement grew in prominence and connection with the rise of decorative arts. These arts and artists flourished while major producers of luxury goods throughout Europe began designing modern products. This modernizing of goods made way for the Art Deco movement to expand beyond the high-end to mass produced goods as well. As it grew, the style combined exquisite craftsmanship and expensive, luxurious materials with modernistic forms. It was a design style, but it was also a lifestyle.
In 1925 two different competing schools coexisted within Art Deco: the traditionalists, who had founded the Society of Decorative Artists; included the furniture designer Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Jean Dunard, the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, and designer Paul Poiret; they combined modern forms with traditional craftsmanship and expensive materials. On the other side were the modernists, who increasingly rejected the past and wanted a style based upon advances in new technologies, simplicity, a lack of decoration, inexpensive materials, and mass production. The modernists founded their own organization, The French Union of Modern Artists, in 1929. Its members included architects Pierre Chareau, Francis Jourdain, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Corbusier, and, in the Soviet Union, Konstantin Melnikov; the Irish designer Eileen Gray, and French designer Sonia Delaunay, the jewelers Jean Fouquet and Jean Puiforcat. They fiercely attacked the traditional art deco style, which they said was created only for the wealthy, and insisted that well-constructed buildings should be available to everyone, and that form should follow function. The beauty of an object or building resided in whether it was perfectly fit to fulfill its function. Modern industrial methods meant that furniture and buildings could be mass-produced, not made by hand.
Overall, the Art Deco trend inspires high contrast and dramatic spaces, which can be seen in more color saturation, brass, chrome, and luxurious or unexpected materials, such as velvet, concrete, inlay, marble, lacquer, fringe, and smoked glass. Today, we’re also seeing geometric patterns and a rise in material investments, such as marble and burl wood. Unlike styles used more in private spaces that individuals cycle through and redesign as times change, Art Deco remains part of our visual landscape.
As one of the first major international style movements, Art Deco changed the face of many major cities, only ending with World War II and the demand for strictly functional, unadorned modernism. Art Deco furniture used only the best materials, such as exotic woods, ivory, and mother of pearl. Each piece was designed for beauty and functionality, meeting the demands of a modern world. The Art Deco patterns and geometric designs were present in the furniture as well. At Jean-Marc Fray, our Art Deco pieces have the fantastic high-quality and decorative elements of the period. From engraved mirrors, stylized dining tables, and buffets with sunburst marquetry, these pieces are striking in their beauty and modern elegance.