The Art Deco movement reached its apotheosis in the 1920s and 1930s. Instead of taking roots in historical influences it became an embodiment of the modern and the contemporary. Art Deco was originally synonymous with a luxury that limited it to the higher social classes, however mass production soon made it available to the middle classes that were emerging at the time. The style really took off in the United States but it was also the first truly global fashion, having found its way into all forms of design and into societies all over the world.
Guest Room in 78 Derngate, Northampton, England
You might associate Charles Rennie Mackintosh most with the flowing lines of Art Nouveau, but there are some clear Art Deco influences in some of his work too. In 1916, Mackintosh was commissioned by Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke to remodel the English businessman’s first marital home in Derngate. The place was as modern as it could have been at the time with its central heatng, indoor plumbing and all sorts of amusing gadgets in the kitchen area. Some of the most interesting elements of Mackintosh’s designs for Bassett-Lowke are featured in the guest room: the wooden headboards participate in the sensation of comfort and warmth that fills the room while the ultramarine, black and white stripes stretching on the back wall and the ceiling give the onlooker a feeling of never-ending light and space. This brilliant geometrically-patterned room actually features as November in our 2016 Mackintosh calendar.
The Kaufmann Office at Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, USA
From the outside... Image source
Frank Lloyd Wright was posthumously awarded the status of 'greatest American architect of all time' in 1991. He is known for having coined the term 'organic architecture' which aimed for harmony between nature and civilization. His designs seem as though they were breathing organisms and a striking example of this is the Kaufmann Residence, also known as Fallingwater due to its standing atop a waterfall on Bear Run, Pennsylvania. The panelled room from the office was designed in 1937 and it is the perfect illustration of what indoor organic architecture was like: every element of the room, from the engravings in the wall to the blinds in front of the window, is part of the same continuity, as though the office was carved inside a magnificent tree.
The Grand Salon at L'Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, France
Organic architects were not the first to make harmony the centre of their designs: in 1925, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann coordinated the work of several leading artists of his time to put together the luxurious Grand Salon of the Hotel d’un Collectionneur that many argued was the greatest achievement of the French Art Deco movement, although it lacked the accessibility to the working classes that was characteristic of their contemporary American designers. The room bears a dreamlike quality through the wavy lines of its ceiling, the bright fountain of its dazzling chandelier and Jean Dupas’ surreal painting, the famous Les Perruches, taking centre stage above the fireplace.
The Dining Room Door of Art Deco House at Eltham Palace in London, England
Let us return to England for a quick look at Eltham Palace and its gorgeous Art Deco house, which was home to socialites Stephen and Virgina Courtauld from 1933 to 1944. The wealthy couple were both modern and, it seems, visionary: the house is filled with fascinating domestic gadgets such as elaborate fireplaces with electric grates and fake logs, synchronized electric wall clocks and hidden speakers. But they also let their imagination run free: the door to their dining room is decorated with elegant lacquer animals and geometric styling that will give you the feeling of stepping in a fantastic, magical world. This stunning dining room door features as June in our 2016 English Heritage Art Deco Interiors calendar.
The Marquetry Panels in the Entrance Hall of the Art Deco House at Eltham Palace in London, England
The Courtaulds were also travellers and their international influences are inherent to the design of the Eltham Art Deco house. The beautiful marquetry panels displayed in the entrance hall are an invitation to delighting in the world’s architectural wonders with their depiction of astonishing buildings from Italian and Swedish cities surrounding by a strange, captivating landscape. The artwork by Jerk Werkmäster is simply incredible in its many different approaches to working the wood: each surface offers a new texture and participates in giving the panels an amazing impression of perspective. The stunning detail of these panels can be seen in the November of our 2016 English Heritage Art Deco Interiors calendar.
If you're an expert on all things Art Deco and wish to celebrate your passion in style, or if you just enjoy the wonderful artwork as much as we do, then our 2016 English Heritage Art Deco Interiors Calendar should definitely be on your radar! You can find it on our website here or from Amazon here.