The term 'art deco' was first derived from the 'Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes' that was held in Paris in 1925 and evolved in France. As it developed it drew from a variety of other styles and periods all of which combined together to what we now know as art deco. Influences included the painting styles of the period - cubism, futurism, and abstractions as well as the obvious influences from Egyptology and African styles. The style developed as the period developed - with the growing use of machines, the repeated patterns in art deco can be derived and even the principles of aerodynamics are clear in some examples of art deco style.
Art Deco followed Art Nouveau and could be thought to be a reaction to it - Art Nouveau is characterised by flowing lines and organic forms whereas Art Deco is more about straight lines and modern shapes, cleaner shapes and lacking in anything organic.
So art deco is modern in the sense that it embraced mass production and the idea of quality design for all as well as including elements of modern life and mechanisms. Yet there is more to its modernism than this - in that art deco style pioneered the use of new materials such as chrome and bakelite.
One of the most lasting ways in which art deco styles still permeate our lives is with architecture. As the art deco style developed and found its way from France to the US, so the skyline of (in particular) New York was transformed by this style. The Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and the Radio City Music Hall are of course the most famous examples. The Chrysler Building, in 42nd Street, is perhaps the most striking and is a great example of the use of bold materials such as nickel-chromed steel and bold shapes such as the triangular windows.
Here at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery we particularly love designing art deco influenced engagement rings - it seems that this is a style that is as popular as ever. A couple of engagement ring designs have been designed to resemble the Chrysler Building for couples that have got engaged in New York - we think of this as a lovely way to bring a really personal influence into your choice of engagement ring design.