Art Deco

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Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I.

Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewellery, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It combined modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

Art Deco was a pastiche of many different styles, sometimes contradictory, united by a desire to be modern. From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism; the bright colours of Fauvism and of the Ballets Russes; the updated craftsmanship of the eras of Louis Philippe I and Louis XVI; and the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art. 

In the 1930s, the Art Deco style became more subdued. New materials arrived, including chrome plating, stainless steel, and plastic. A sleeker form of the style, called Streamline Moderne appeared, featuring curving forms and smooth, polished surfaces.

Art Deco is one of the first truly international styles, but its dominance ended with the beginning of World War II and the rise of the strictly functional and unadorned styles of modernism and the International Style of architecture that followed.


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