Art deco features architecture and representatives

Art deco

Architectural and decorative movement that emerged in France in the 1920s. In this article we will enhance your understanding about the features of the  Art deco.

Art Deco was an architectural and decorative movement that emerged in France in the 1920s as a detachment or continuation of Art Nouveau . It became known from the Exhibition of Decorative Arts held in Paris in 1925, from which it took its name, since art deco is an abbreviation of Arts décoratifs . It was widely disseminated throughout the world, initially adopted by the wealthiest social classes and later by the rest of society.

It became popular as a symbol of high society glamor from its adoption in Hollywood as an aesthetic model for film studios and for the staging of numerous films shot between the 1920s and the beginning of World War II.

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Art deco features

The main characteristics of art deco are the following:

  • It is a movement characterized by eclecticism since it was defined from various influences, some of which were:
    • Modern life, speed, technology, the machine, especially in the represented themes.
    • The artistic avant-gardes, especially Futurism, Suprematism , Constructivism, and Cubism . These currents contributed geometrizing aesthetics, the representation of the simultaneity of situations, rhythms and dynamism.
    • The monumental architecture of ancient Egypt . The fashion and ornamentation of ancient cultures or of American and African peoples.
    • References to exotic cultures for Europeans.
  • From its diffusion, the style was used in all areas of daily life, from car design to tableware, jewelry, clothing, furniture, toys, etc.
  • It is a style associated with luxury and the enjoyment of parties, travel and entertainment of the wealthy classes.
  • He used rigid geometric shapes, solid volumes, and straight lines in architecture.
  • In the decoration, he favored expensive or novel materials such as Bakelite, chrome, glass, lacquers, gilding, exotic animal skins, ebony wood, and tortoiseshell.


Architecture is the most enduring manifestation of Art Deco. Its enormous popularity resulted in the construction of numerous public and private buildings for massive use such as cinemas, theaters, government headquarters, cultural institutions, etc.

It was the architectural style that was in force during the construction of the first skyscrapers and, therefore, it is characteristic of cities with great urban development from the 1930s such as New York, São Paulo and Buenos Aires.

Art Deco was also the style adopted for the aesthetic construction of fascism such as the state architecture of Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. In this case, it took on a more severe, monumental and formal appearance .

The North American side associated with the spirit of progress and luxury of the period in Los Angeles and Miami presents a freer aspect and is associated with cinema, jazz, and festivities.

Architecture took advantage of the development of new materials such as steel to develop novel forms.

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Art deco representatives

Some representatives of art deco were:

  • Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980) : painter.
  • Paul Pierre Lemagny (1905-1977) : painter, printmaker, decorator and designer.
  • Raymond Mathewson Hood (1881-1934) : architect.
  • Marie-Louis Süe (1875-1968) : painter, architect, decorator and interior designer.
  • Francesco Salamone (1897-1959) : Italian-Argentine architect and engineer.

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