What about ending this difficult year with lots of shine and sparkle to bring light into our homes? Steal from the Art Deco style this Christmas!
What is Art Deco
Arts Décoratifs, or Art Deco, is a visual design movement that started in Paris in 1925 during the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Also known as style moderne, the movement also caught on in western Europe and the United States.
The Art Deco style was inspired by the machine age, urbanism, and a consumer society. There are four elements that stand out in this style: 1) machine age materials, like stainless steel, mirror, chrome, glass, plastics, and lacquer, 2) lavish ornamentation which takes inspiration from “exotic” styles of other cultures like Africa, American Indian, Egyptian, China, Japan, India, etc., 3) geometrical elements with repeating patterns and symmetry, and 4) industrial motifs such as trains, airplanes, boats, and cars.
Forms in Art Deco
Art Deco is strong, bold, flashy, exuberant, and ostentatious. These are some of the recognizable forms and patterns of this style—sunburst shapes, chevron, zigzag patterns, sweeping curves, repeating lines, and triangular or trapezoidal forms, and nudes.
There are still some Art Deco buildings in Manila like the Manila Metropolitan Theater, Rizal Coliseum, and the First United Building in Escolta. Notable Art Deco buildings abroad are the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in New York.
This aesthetics was embraced by architecture, interior design and other visual arts including fashion and graphic design. Art Deco lived it up through the roaring 20s, sailed through the turbulent times of the Great Depression of the 30s, and survived the World War in the 40s.
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Ostentation was the name of the game so you had the shine of metals, the sparkle of crystal, the burnished patina of hardwood, and the gleam of marble, to name a few favored materials.
The colors of Art Deco are the saturated hues of yellow, pink, red, green, orange, purple, and blue. Neutral colors like white, black and taupe are also dominant with the combination used for maximum effect in intricate patterns or a strong geometric like checkerboards. That’s almost all the primary and secondary hues, which is in keeping with the maximalism of this style.
(Tip: Watch The Great Gatsby in Netflix if you want to see the ostentation and exhibitionism of that era.)
The Art Deco movement died down in the 50s when Modernism with its philosophy of functionalism and minimalism took over.
The Comeback of Art Deco
After 100 years, there is a resurgence in the Art Deco style in today’s architecture and interior design as seen in projects in the US, Australia, UK, and France.
The spirit of Art Deco is flamboyance. If you had money, you spent it excessively and showed off. The aim is to make a feast for the eyes—the flash of gold, the reflection of mirrored surfaces, brightly polished stones, and intense colors.
Borrowing from this style to make your Christmas home is very much in keeping with the trend. But you don’t have to buy any new Christmas baubles. Just recycle your old ones. It’s the spirit of exuberance that we’re after and not showing off.
In these times, we all deserve an extra shine and sparkle to our Christmas, while being frugal about it.
Put the Art Deco Shine in Your Homes This Christmas
Most Christmas baubles should fit right in. In other words, take them out and decorate your home. Here are some ideas.
1 Group candle holders in front of a mirror
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Group together candle or tea light holders of different heights, use some metallic candles, and put them before a mirror, gold-framed if you have one. Scatter some Christmas balls in the vignette, and there you have it, added light and shine to your holiday season.
Or you could also group the candle holders and put them on a mirrored tray.
2 Use accessories with lots of details.
Take out your Christmas tree from storage and set it up. If you have baubles with repeating geometric patterns or silver snowflakes decor, that could be your nod to the Art Deco style. Another detail that is found in the Art Deco style are animal prints.
3 Art Deco shapes and colors
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Make a family activity out of putting up your tree. Choose metallics and the colors in the above mood board. If you have things that have streamlined details like those mentioned (e.g., triangles, repeating lines, or sunburst shapes), then use them as decor.
If you don’t have items like these, then make them yourselves. Here are some ideas to make your own accessories:
- Look for wrapping paper with Art Deco patterns then wrap your Christmas balls before hanging them on a tree.
- Get metallic stickers and cut them into triangular shapes. Make a pattern on an existing cabinet. Make sure that the sticker is removable so that if you want to bring back the furniture to its former look, it would just be a matter of removing the stickers.
- Buy some cheap plastic balls and fabric with metallic lines and patterns. Before wrapping your ball with the fabric, attach a gold thread on the ball so you can hang these on your tree or a garland.
4 Glam up your cushions
Change your cushion covers and go for those with metallic geometric designs or sequins for an instant over-the-top glamor. This is one of the easiest design tips that can change the mood of a room.
Doll Up During the Holidays
The fashion mavens just announced that loungewear and sweatpants are going out of style. According to the late Lagerfeld, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.”
History tells us that after periods of turmoil, fashion at a certain point kicks up its heels and tell people to go out in style.
Dressing up is a way of reclaiming happiness regardless of outside factors. (Geraldine Wharry)
The main difference from previous fashion transformations after the first world war, the flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression of the 30s, and the Great Inflation of the 70s, is that today, people are raiding their cabinets to see how they can wear their existing clothes in new ways. Let’s just hope they still fit.
So for Christmas, do dress up even if the social gatherings you will be attending will all be virtual. Click on the link and read about more dining room painting ideas for when you host a Zoom Christmas Eve dinner with your besties!