Art Deco architecture was considered to be decorative, beautiful and ornamental. Buildings, cinemas, railway stations, hotels etc. were all embellished with classic Deco patterns like sunbursts, Egyptian motifs, chevrons, zigzags, sweeping curves and similar geometric patterns, all in the name of beauty and decoration.
Post-war society quickly accepted this new artistic style, as it was a representation of all that was modern, luxurious and elegant. The 1920s were a time of hope and joy, and the public embraced this new style instantly. It symbolized prosperity and it inspired hope for a joyful future.
Unfortunately, architectural critics and purists hated it! They “sneered at the…’modernistic’ application of Deco ornament, which they saw as ‘commercial.'” (Benton, 2003) In essence they felt it was too much glitz and glamour and no substance.
“More recently, however, architects and critics have begun to re-evaluate the importance of the decorative in architecture, seeing it not only as a popular reflection of rapidly changing conditions but as a rich and profound expression of human feelings.” (Benton, 2003)
– Streamlined, linear, elegant lines
– Modern design
– Angular, geometric patterns inlaid into facades:
- Sweeping curves
- Egyptian motifs
- Floral motifs
- Bird motifs
– Ziggurats (staggered or tiered pyramid shapes)
– Symmetrical, repeating patterns
– Use of bold colours – specifically green, yellow, turquoise and ruby
– Gold accents
– Inlaid stained glass – bold colouring
– Liberal use of sleek-looking materials – stainless steel, aluminum, marble, glass
To learn more, visit Art Deco Architecture.