By Malini Aikat
It was the time the Titanic sailed and sunk, Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered, the Empire State Building pierced the skies and Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced and jazz was born. In design, modernism was beginning. Gone were the flowing, fluid lines of Art Nouveau, its organic shapes, its pastels hues. Nature was still an influence but in a bolder representation with stronger more definitive lines, angles and geometry. Picasso’s cubism altered perceptions . And Hollywood added its silver screen glamour with shine, shadows, smoke and mirrors. The world was travelling – in cars, on cruise liners and planes to far off lands like Egypt – discovering pyramids and chasing the sun. Like children, eager and tireless, artists wanted to capture it all. And in fascinating interpretations they mirrored mans adventures. Deco had arrived. In design, in architecture and in the visual arts. In sweeping lines and clad in chrome or lacquer and gloss and dramatically contrasted with satin and furs. Shells, the rising sun and flowers decorated the stylized images of planes and ships. The stepped profile – symbolizing ascension, man reaching out, along with chevrons and zigzags were the dominating patterns. Material like mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell and etchings of sphinxes appeared everywhere. Colour schemes were bold and defining: cream and green and pink, black, gold and red. Whole colonies sprung up with Art Deco exuberance: Miami Beach, Marine Drive in Mumbai.
Deco is one of the most recognizable styles and, oddly, despite its strong and eccentric personality, it hasn’t bored or tired us. Its influence endures. And every now and again new reimaginings appear: an example closer to home being the Geonature collection of wallcoverings, a highly stylized and individual look that marries Art Deco influences with themes from nature.
If you’re hooked on to Deco, find out more: