In the late 1910s, furniture was made of dark wood and featured curved lines, reflecting nature. But, changes were on the horizon and made a huge shift in modern architecture and furniture design. What could have turned the world on its head dramatically, and how did it get started?
The 1920s changed the world of interior and furniture designs as the Art Deco movement took hold, reflecting the richness and luxury evident throughout that decade after World War I. Art Deco furniture was more modern and sleeker in design while incorporating opulent, stylish, and aesthetically driven elements.
Where did it originate, and how did the movement grow into a new modern style?
The Origins of Art Deco Furniture
Art Deco furniture originated from the 1925 “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes,” an exhibition where French artisans and designers reimagined traditional design into a new modern style with a sleeker design that incorporated opulent, stylish, and aesthetically driven elements.
Unsurprisingly, major department stores in Paris started offering these pieces as the hottest new thing. Apartments in Paris were transformed, and that transition played an important role in launching Art Deco furniture into the world.
No other movement in decorative arts and architecture celebrated urban life in such a glamorous and luxurious manner. After a century of its golden days, the iconic design style is making its way back into mainstream design and is blossoming in cities around the globe.
Surprisingly enough, the term Art Deco didn’t become mainstream until the 1960s, even as the style was incorporated into many homes and offices in the 1920s and 1930s.
Conquering America with Luxury
The glamorous lifestyle depicted by Art Deco furniture was immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. The style has continued to flourish internationally, even though it did disappear for a time before resurging.
Those who made Art Deco furniture were not just craftsmen or cabinet makers but also incorporated other disciplines, such as lighting and material design. The main characteristics of Art Deco furniture include the following:
- Ebony or exotic woods
- Shiny finish
- Expensive materials, such as ivory, wrought iron, and glass
- Several layers of lacquer
There were also waterfall features that included rounded drops on the edges of the horizontal surfaces. While this was meant to appeal to the masses, it didn’t necessarily have the same quality as more traditional Art Deco furniture pieces.
There are also plenty of examples of marquetry, a technique of forming geometric bandings and intricate designs out of different types of wood, such as boxwood, satinwood, ebony, or even ivory. These are prominent features of Art Deco furniture from the era.
If you are interested in Art Deco furniture and ready to add some to your home or office, contact us today to learn more about the available offerings.
Paul Stamati Gallery specializes in 20th Century decorative arts and is the world’s leading source for Art Deco lighting by Lalique.