In these pages I will look at Art Deco as a design movement from my personal experience rather than a dry academic paper on the subject. How it influenced the appearance of everything from sky scrapers to table ware and it's availability today as beautiful wall posters that capture the nostalgia of the movement.
As a kid I was curiously fascinated by old lamps and other knickknacks done in this style, they seemed to have an other worldliness as if imported here from some mechanistic planet. And a little later I saw Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film, "Metropolis" accompanied by a Pink Floydesk rock band replete with smoke bombs and acrid smells to add effect when Metropolis blows up. The smoke wasn't exactly pleasant. But more to the point the whole film adhered in it's art design to a rigid geometric Art Deco motif which greatly enhanced the theme of man becoming a slave of technology.
South Beach Miami is an Art Deco heaven. Those old hotels along the strip have been refurbished with paint and neon to enhance their classic lines so they now bloom more splendidly than they probably did in the 20's. It's a joy to sit at a sidewalk restraint and take it all in.
But ironically in the 20's it wasn't called Art Deco but was lumped in as part of the modernist movement which detested old ways and forms and sought a new approach to everything. So Lang actually used Art Deco as the modernistic backdrop to his brave new world. But despite Fritz's excesses, (I still love that movie), to me Art Deco stands alone, neither old or new fashioned, like any other great art movement.
I understand it actually didn't get it's name until a retrospective exhibition in Paris 1966 when the name was coined, the English subtitle being, “Art Deco“. And I think this rightly separates it from the political and philosophical connotations of modernism which in itself disappeared by the second world war. It’s opponents like Huxley, Orwell, and even Lang would, I believe, see their gloomy predictions coming true in this century.
As a survivor of the mad house of Art College I look at it mainly from an esthetic viewpoint and am always enthralled by it’s uniformity of concept and adherence to it’s own design principals and when done well always a joy to look at. And in lieu of owning an objet d’art of the period a beautiful Art Deco wall poster is a window into this fascinating world. Get yours here.