Art Deco flourished during and immediately after the Great Depression in America when financial instability needed to be balanced with strength, power and luxury. There are a ton of reasons why Art Deco architecture, design and art aesthetic hit it big during that unstable time in America, and why brining a bit of it back to your home could shore you up against our present optimistic yet turbulent economic times.Here are a few classic Art Deco traits that can translate into stronger decor and furnishing for your home. Stability is where its at. And opulence… of course… is always lovely!
Strong geometric lines create structure in design that creates a more intense, formed environment. Where your work is suffering at the office or your family has been too disparate, a bit more structure in design evoked by geometry can reinforce the power of the unit:
Luxe is where its at! I have feng shui’d what was Mae West’s apartment until 1980 she she actually died in that very space. Let me tell you, it was an enormous exercise in how people can transform environments. The Mae West apartment devoid of carpets, mirrors, flowers, mirrored furnishings and wall sconces is… just a big 2 bedroom apartment on the sixth floor of a building in Hancock Park in Los Angeles. You would never think it was this iconic:
In true Deco style, mirrored furniture adds extra energy and dynamism. Lush structured drapery allows light to flood into the space. The walls are simple colors, but the materials use to decorate all have a glow that is inviting and incandescent. (And no, this place is not haunted!)
Art Deco decorative art mirrors the flash of peacock feathers and the strong lines of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Where you need more structure, deliberately contracted figurative art can fill in the blanks for you.
Solid geometric forms are much more precise than fluffy mountains of pillows, yet in deco there is still a comfortable plushness (rather than, say, Mid-Century where comfort was less prized than design)… And stable forms are where its at. This giant headboard above is the epitome of “creating a safe, expansive space.” The sofa below is well-contained, inviting yet you don’t feel there is any reason to sprawl out or settle in. Use giant headboards to promote stable relationships… and more structured furniture to create social areas to mingle but not “settle in” for too long.
Last but not least, remember that Deco has in its roots a story of Hollywood-in-bloom and intrinsic drama in execution. Just one fabulous deco light fixture (I have 2 in my Deco place!) can create a center around which life pivots. This one to your left is a bit off-center, but can you see the impression it makes on the scene? Don’t forget to put a bit of fantasy into your home whenever possible!