Art Deco was a popular international design movement. It reached its peak during the 1920s and 1930s. The dramatic style is frequently associated with the period known as the Roaring Twenties. Geometry, symmetry, and use of bold color make the style easily recognizable. As a part of Modernism, the style breaks from the more traditional forms before it and has a unique visual character. The sleek lines and graphic motifs can be seen on everything from architecture to poster art. The style was prominent and widespread, making a mark on the fields of decorative arts and interior design.
The origins of Art Deco can be traced back to France. Suggestions of the style can be seen as far back as the turn of the century. In 1900, a professional association for design was organized. The Société des Artistes Décorateurs worked to modernize design standards. The French government sponsored an international trade exhibit which was scheduled for 1915 but postponed until 1925. The goal of this exhibit was for France to reclaim its position as the leader in luxurious decorative arts. The exhibit was dedicated to a modern world. International manufacturers shared elegant and sophisticated wares with the public, and the style of Art Deco was well on its way to achieving global success.
It is generally accepted that the term Art Deco was derived from the exhibition's title, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. The term Art Deco was further popularized during a resurgence of the style in the 1960s and again in the 1980s. Art Deco is also known as Deco. There are several other terms associated with the style, such as, Style Moderne, Jazz Age Deco, Streamline, Art Moderne, Diner Deco, and Depression Deco.
The eclectic style also drew from many other sources. The discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922 strongly influenced design elements. Ancient Egyptian decorative motifs can be seen on many of the period's buildings and crafts. Among others, African, Native American, Greco-Roman, Aztec, and Mayan designs were also prominent themes of the period.
Modernism was about rebellion against pretentious sociological rules. The movement encouraged reaching beyond the limits of perfection and image. In the arts, modern painters, sculptors, and designers began to explore subjects
previously considered taboo. These modern thinkers sought to represent discovery and truth. The period brought about a freedom of expression and the female figure became a popular Art Deco subject. Bronze and ivory
figures were produced by many sculptors. Figures of maidens, dancers and mythological creatures were often seen carved into panels and doorways. The female figure became a predominant theme in interior design and was
found on ceramics, statuettes, lamps, barware, poster art, ashtrays, and picture frames.
With sunshine and heat streaming through the windows of Tom’s and Daisy’s sitting room, Nick Caraway walks into the room and is immediately bathed in the privileged light of their world. With huge chandeliers lining the hallway and dotting across the ceiling, the wealth of the inhabitants is made painfully clear. The Art Deco period is well known for a luxurious style – designers of the time used exotic woods, geometric patterns and smooth lines in their furniture. Jordan and Daisy recline in the heat on an oversized cream lounge suite, as used to great effect here, which was very much in vogue at the time – particularly with the matching wood arms on the sofa and chairs.