Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual art, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewellery, fashion, cars, cinemas, trains, ocean liners and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners.
It adopted its name "Arts Décoratifs" from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts), which took place in Paris in 1925.
Art Deco combines modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its greatest glory, it represented luxury, glamour, exuberance and a belief in social and technological progress.
From its beginning, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism and Viennese Art Nouveau; the bright colors of Fauvism and the Ballets Russes, the updated craftsmanship of furniture from the time of Louis Philippe I and Louis XVI; and the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Mayan art. I
t was characterized by rare and precious materials such as ebony and ivory, and exquisite craftsmanship. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers in New York built in the 1920s and 1930s are among the most important monuments of this style.
In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, Art Deco started to decline. New materials came along including chrome, stainless steel and plastic. In the 1930s, a more polished form of Art Deco emerged, known as "Streamline Moderne". It is characterised by curved shapes and smooth, polished surfaces.
Art Deco was one of the first truly worldwide styles, but its dominance ended with the start of World War II and the rise of strictly functional and unadorned styles of modern architecture.
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