Art Deco Design for Modern Interiors

Maybe you’re drawn to the graphic detail or you gravitate towards the gilded finishes and rich materiality—the lure of Art Deco is undeniable. With a distinct aesthetic, the design harkens back to the glamor of Old Hollywood and the Roaring ‘20s. Born from a backlash against the Art Nouveau movement, a stylized genre that emulated forms found in nature, Art Deco embraced the newfound industry and technology of the day and showcased vibrant, futuristic and machine-made elements, said Allison Knizek of Allison Knizek Design in Sherman Oaks, California.

Though it began in the early 1900s, the style reached the height of its popularity after it was showcased in Paris in 1925 during the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, or the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, said Brett Beldock of Brett Design in New York City. “By the 1930s, Art Deco was in full swing in the worlds of design, furniture, art and architecture in western Europe and the U.S.,” she said.

The true origin of the Art Deco style most familiar to us in the U.S. is inspired by skyscrapers and bold geometric forms, said David Duncan, founder of David Duncan Studio in Manhattan. “The Chrysler building [in New York City] could be said to be the apotheosis of American Art Deco, boldly expressing the new age of modernism made possible by developments in engineering an`d technology.” In terms of the look for interiors, Mr. Duncan paints a vivid picture, “think [songwriter] Cole Porter’s sleek apartment in the Ritz Tower with cocktails swilled in a penthouse with reflective, lacquered and mirrored surfaces and mohair upholstery in a sunken living room.”

Defined by bold colors, geometric shapes, repetitive patterns, metallic accents, clean lines and rich materials, the style “plays off of postmodern design. It has the same linear aesthetic with an added materiality that sets it apart,” said Raymond Jimenez, founder and creative director of Raymond Nicolas in Miami. “Art Deco understands how to balance intricate geometric shapes while bringing them to life through high-gloss finishes, glass elements and rich textures,” he said.

Incorporating Art Deco touches to a modern interior adds creativity, glamour and retro elegance. And you don’t have to go all out—even adding just a few details can elevate your space in a luxe way.

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