The American Art Deco
Art Deco is sometimes called Deco or Dado, a generic term for modernism, and it was the movement that started it all. Art Deco is an artistic style of architecture, visual arts and design which first appeared in France before World War I. It is an offshoot of the Pre-Raphaelites, a Jewish community that lived in London during the late nineteenth century. The Pre-Raphaelites worked towards creating progressive, artful buildings for their city, but when it came to decorating their homes, they relied on Art Deco. This is where the term Art Deco was born.
Art Deco architecture buildings are usually characterized by their clean straight lines, and a sense of geometric structure. This style developed out of the abstract expressionism of Le Corbusier, who is often credited with discovering the art Deco style. Art Deco buildings include the lobbies of New York City’s Time Square, the lobbies of Chicago’s Douglas architectural empire, and many others. Most of these were created between Expressionism and Modernism, which heavily influenced the style.
Most buildings that can be considered Art Deco were created between Expressionism and Modernism, and there are thousands of these structures in the United States alone. There is no exact number, since most of these buildings weren’t designed at any particular time period. However, the most common Art Deco style found in American Art Deco buildings is the streamline moderne, which owes its inspiration to the geometry of the US Air Force’s Curtissage Field, which was located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The style borrows heavily from the rounded shapes and flat surfaces of this building. Some of the most well known examples of Art Deco buildings in the US include the lobbies of San Francisco’s Sutro Building and the Chicago Merchandise Building.
Art Deco architecture also takes on geometric forms, which were popular throughout the movement. Many times, geometric designs make up the side of a building, as well as the roofs. Most buildings that are made entirely of geometric patterns were constructed during the first few years of the Art Deco style, which is from roughly 1920 until the end of the 1930s. Others may still be in existence today, but most are only a part of an art Deco museum.
Art Deco was often used in the construction of world war one skyscrapers such as those in New York, which were constructed with concrete, rather than steel. Steel was deemed too expensive at that time to construct these skyscrapers, therefore they were constructed entirely out of concrete. This gave the building the Art Deco aesthetic of spindly, stylized shapes rather than the more rigid geometrical forms found in skyscrapers of the period. These buildings can still be seen all across the world. They can be a part of the world war two tourism, however.
The Art Deco movement in America was not fully realized until the 1950s, which saw a new emphasis on skyscraper construction that included the use of concrete. The stylized shapes of the Art Deco buildings we know today are a product of the modern age, and are no longer the product of an artistic sensibility that went out of fashion. However, the buildings themselves remain as a part of the Americana aesthetic, which is found in everything from tattoos to baseball caps.