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What was the Art Deco style originally known as?

Style Moderne
Streamlined Moderne
Arte Moderne.
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Art Deco Collectibles: Fashionable Objets from the Jazz Age
by Rodney Capstick-Dale &
Diana Capstick-Dale
 

In the 1920s and 1930s the Art Deco style influenced everything from art and architecture, interiors and furnishings, automobiles and boats to the small, personal objects that were part of everyday life: Featuring high-quality photography and vintage illustrations and ephemera, this book brings these objects to life in exquisite detail for the first time. The objects in this themed book encompass the Deco style at its most alluring, as well as the modernity, excitement, and social revolution of the Jazz Age.

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LATEST SPOTLIGHT_________________________________

Shining Light on Art Deco
by Bob Brooke
 

Art Deco style lighting burst on the scene as the transition from gas-powered to electric lighting, resulting in electric light fixtures with exposed bulb designs, came to a close towards the end of the first decade of the 20th century. This allowed people to show off their new electric fixtures and optimize light output, as the early electric bulbs were dim by today's standards.

By the 1920s, a completely new theme of design which applied to fashion, transport, and architecture, as well as general home wares, began to take hold. Characterized by symmetrical patterns and geometric details, Art Deco lighting employed a variety of finishes to create distinctive and futuristic effects. Tiered, elongated architectural forms featured everything from skyscraper shades to stepped finials. While Art Deco lighting was typical in commercial and municipal structures.

Lighting design underwent a transformation in aesthetic and style from the 1920s through the 1930s. Evolving design sensibilities and the rise of electric lights contributed to the streamlined yet whimsical style we now associate with Art Deco lighting.

In the 1920s, lighting manufacturers developed new capabilities for intricate detail work with high-quality materials. Plus, as technology advanced, electric light bulbs became much brighter, creating the need for shades for more natural, diffused light. All of this contributed to the Art Deco movement in lighting.

Art Deco lighting was more indirect lighting, in which the quality and luminosity of the light were more important than the decoration of the fixture that incorporated chrome-plated and streamlined forms. The sleek shapes of airplanes and automobiles resulted in lighting designs that were both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

That's not to say that there are not many examples of highly decorative light fittings, but the textures of white glass, sandblasted, enameled, or engraved were prized for the different light effects that could be achieved from them.

Art Deco Lighting soon embraced Modernism and the machine age aesthetic. Lamps were made of brilliant colored metals such as steel and chrome, with white glass, sometimes decorated with the new Bakelite.

Lighting was more indirect, with torcheres which directed the light upwards. These were tall, standing lamps, usually with a square nickel or chrome plated column with a geometric or abstract form lamp at the top. Wall sconces in milky opalescent glass were also employed to direct light upwards.



One of the most iconic examples of Art Deco lighting design is the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company's headquarters, built in 1929 in New York City. The building's lobby features a massive chandelier designed by Hildreth Meière that incorporates blue and gold glass panels arranged in a zigzag pattern. This fixture perfectly captures the Art Deco style's combination of geometric shapes, bold colors, and innovative materials.

Art Deco lighting design also had a significant impact on the home. Many middle-class Americans embraced the Art Deco style, incorporating it into the design of their homes and furnishings. Art Deco lighting fixtures for the home were often made from less expensive materials than those used in larger public buildings but retained the style's characteristic use of geometric shapes and bold colors.

One of the most popular Art Deco lighting fixtures for the home was the table lamp. These lamps often featured a base made from materials like bronze or Bakelite and were topped by a shade made from glass or fabric. The shades were generally rectangular or triangular in shape and were painted with bold patterns or geometric designs.

Another popular Art Deco lighting fixture for the home was the wall sconce. These fixtures were often made from chromed metal and featured angular, geometric shapes that echoed the designs of larger Art Deco buildings. The sconces were popular in dining rooms and living rooms, where they provided a decorative and functional source of light.

Archaeological discoveries in ancient Egypt and the Mayan and Aztec civilizations in Mexico and Central America had a strong influence on the development of the Art Deco style. The stepped angular patterns found in these sites began to be seen in designs of the early 20th Century.

One of the defining features of Art Deco lighting design was its use of new materials and manufacturing techniques. This was made possible by advances in industrial production, such as the widespread use of electric lighting and the availability of new materials like bakelite and chrome. These materials were durable, inexpensive, and easy to shape, making them ideal for use in mass-produced lighting fixtures.

Designers used the human body in many of their original Art Deco designs. They depicted it in a highly stylized and sometimes Gothic way. They employed the female shape in athletic, sensuous and erotic poses often concentrating on the human form rather than details.

Art Deco lighting emerged as a response to the ornate and elaborate styles that had dominated the 19th century. Designers drew upon a variety of artistic movements, including Cubism, Futurism, and Constructivism, creating bold geometric shapes, sleek lines, and luxurious materials. Lighting in the Art Deco style, created for use in homes and offices, as well as public spaces like theaters and hotels, often had rich marbles and golds, curves and lines juxtaposing in perfect harmony.

Some popular Art Deco lighting styles included skyscraper lamps, which featured tall, narrow designs reminiscent of city skyscrapers, streamlined lamps, which had smooth, curved lines and a streamlined appearance, and sunburst lamps, with radiating spokes or rays that created a dramatic effect. Other popular Art Deco lighting styles included torchiere lamps, pendant lamps, and table lamps, all of which could be used to add a touch of Art Deco glamor to any room.

Art Deco lighting designers often used materials like chrome, glass, and Bakelite to create sleek, modern designs that were both functional and beautiful. Lighting fixtures often featured glass panels obscuring the light bulb, faceted forms with stepped fan details, cascading tiered silhouettes, slipper-style shades, and ornately cast etched glass detailing.

Defined by the use of high-quality materials and intricate manufacturing, high Art Deco lighting designs displayed at the Paris exhibition in 1925 often featured geometric or botanical motifs combined with streamlined silhouettes. The oversized designs were ideal for hotels, theaters, and commercial spaces with grand foyers. Streamlining of Art Deco lighting fixtures began to appear in the 1930s.



During the 1930’s, Odeon Cinemas, as well as many other movie houses, featured Art Deco designs and lighting, influenced heavily by the European style. The chain’s architects designed the theaters as pure Art Deco monuments with wonderful Deco details incorporated into every facet of the building from the lighting to the seating, internal architecture and even down to small details such as door handles.

The 1930s saw Art Deco styles come into swing as American designers started to look toward French and European lighting from the Paris exposition. Simplistic, streamlined designs became more popular later in the 1930s and early 40s. When the United States entered World War II, wartime restrictions on manufacturing and metal materials required many light fixtures to have more glass components and less detail. This focus on utility and function eventually gave way to the Industrial Style movement in the 1940s.

Art Deco Lighting Designers
Famous French glassmakers---Daum, Degue, Sabino ,Schneider, and Muller Freres—all designed and produced Art Deco lighting fixtures. Edgar Brandt, famous for his wrought iron, formed partnerships with several of them, notably Daum Frères, to create many masterpieces of lighting. One of these was an Art Deco chandelier with the most delicately formed wrought iron frame supporting textured opalescent glass shades sending a subtle light upwards from the many arms of the fixture.

Rene Lalique created many lighting fixtures, from simple glass lamps and wall sconces to huge chandeliers for hotels and businesses. He decorated his early pieces with flowers and maidens, but later he embraced Art Deco’s geometric forms and motifs of sunbursts and fountains.



Jean Perzel was one of the most important modernist lighting designers of the 1920s and 1930s. He was exclusively a lighting designer and manufacturer, who developed a special form of glass that would spread light evenly.

Other well known lighting designers in Paris included Albert Simonet, Maison Desny, Albert Cheuret, Damon, and Eugene and GL Capon.

The most successful American lighting designers were Donald Deskey, who designed the interior of the Radio City Hall in the Rockefeller Center, and Von Nessen. His lamps were a bright and stylish novelties.


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