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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Design Under the Influence: Art Deco

Hello again, it's Erika from small shop, here to cover a bit about Art Deco influences and motifs. I had honestly been avoiding tackling this massive topic simply because the vast amount of deco influences seen in today's design world is overwhelming! To streamline my efforts, I'm going to talk about the historical context, the main motifs, and those seen in modern day examples in decor and fashion.


The Art Deco movement of the late 1920's to the early 1940's included all principles of design, from architecture to interiors, to product and textile design, to art and literature. You could sum up the factors that most influenced the birth of the movement into three:

#1: Post-WWI/Depression Era From the horrors of war grew a need for a sense of progress, practicality and sophistication, and a recall of a past glamour lost.

#2: Archaeological Finds of the 1920's The unearthing of Pompeii, Tut's Tomb, Troy, and Mesoamerican sites created an excitement for all things Roman, Egyptian and Aztec/Mayan.

#3: The Machine Age Later, with the invention of modern aviation, cinema, large ocean liners and electric lighting came man-made materials like aluminum, stainless steel, chrome and plastics. Out grew a simplicity in form and construction, and an aerodynamic aesthetic.


When you consider the above, it's no wonder that geometric patterning and mathematical shapes reigned supreme, such as these major motifs:


While the countless examples of Art Deco motifs in decor and products can be found, I was particularly struck by the quite literal interpretations seen on the S/S 12 runways:

But we definitely have seen a resurgence of late in interiors and product design!

Mary McDonald

Osborne & Little "Minaret"

Jeff Andrews for Khloe Kardashian

Kelly Wearstler "Grand Ziggurat"

House of Harlow 1960

Maison 21 for Joss & Main

via Design*Sponge

Mark Chamberlain via Lonny

Charles Hollis Jones


Christian Louboutin

Osborne & Little "Volte" and "Minaret" Arts & Crafts UK "Manhattan" / "Shand Kydd"

Mary McDonald

Atmosphere Interior Design


Molly Luetkemeyer

I looked around my home, and didn't realize how many Art Deco-inspired pieces I've incorporated as well! Take a look around, you may be surprised too.


Tiffany Leigh {thedesignerlifestyle} said...

Erika! This was such an informative and fun post. A pleasure to read. Stopping by your blog now!

Like Me Some said...

Loved all of these images! Hard to choose a favorite,the flame stitch! Those wallpapers..that orange! All incredible!

Peak Rainey said...

This is one of my favorite posts that I have read! So fantastic... I loved everything about it - especially tying fashion into the interiors. Fabulous! Def checking out your blog. Thanks :)

Jessica said...

Erika- Amazing primer on Art Deco!! Incredible images, too. Drooling over here. xoxo

Elizabeth said...

Art Deco has always been my favorite period and inspires every single thing I do - even if you can't see it, a hint of it is there. Thanks for this amazing post, Erika!
xoxo -e (modern24seven)

p-l-a-i-d said...

The wallpaper from the Art Deco time period is fabulous!!

Minnie and Daisy said...

I am not such a big fan of wallpapers! But those here pictured are absolutely awesome!! I love the orange one!! xoxo Minnie&Daisy

TheWhitList said...

I never realized how much art deco has inspired the current trends in interior design. As much as I love the patterns, do I dare say some of them are becoming trending?

Miya @ Design Indulgences said...

I've definitely noticed the influence in jewelry. You see it a lot in regular mall places like Charlotte Russe, Express and H&M. I love it.

Drew {Coral Cafe} said...

What a great and educational post about art deco, Erika! Loved the history and present day applications in design and fashion! So intriguing!

Kristy @ I Design Love said...

I love this series! Art Deco is one of my favorite periods of design :)


Amanda said...

Dior + Louboutin=Heaven on earth!!

Check out my blog!



Tamra {ever swoon} said...

My favorite series, I love how Erika combines all my lifestyle loves and I learn something everytime! I'm a huge fan of art deco and this was by far my fav lesson. It's safe to say I want to live a life in this post, wearing those shoes!! xoxo

Nicole Hough said...

Gorgeous post! Gorgeous. I love how you showed art deco in a contemporary context. I love every single space.

Teresa Hatfield ~ Splendid Sass said...

My dining room chairs had flamestich fabric when I bout them over 20 years ago. Funny to see them back.
Love all of these.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved Art Deco, drawn to those graphic design details, strong shapes and glam colors. Now I know why...just beautiful, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I've always been drawn to the graphic patterns and details of Art Deco, and now I know why. Beautiful post with so many current examples, thanks.

Unknown said...

truly inspiring post, and thank you for the shout out, erika! oxoxo!

The Golden Girls said...

such inspiring art deco! thanks for sharing!!! xx,
The Golden Girls

victoria | vmac+cheese said...

Erika! This post was out of control amazing, yet again. I adore so many art deco motifs and it was fun learning a little bit more about them. Thanks!

Rachellabelle said...

This post is pure eye candy! I love Art Deco more than any style period. Beautiful post. Thank you! :)

Art Deco Weddings said...

Lovely overview of the era, and the historical context is wonderful. Plus (of course) pretty pictures! Love it.