Interior Design Expert Explains Why Art Deco Is A Big Trend In 2020
Perhaps it’s because the Roaring Twenties are back (2020s, that is), but Alessandra Wood, Vice President of Style at Modsy, the online interior design firm, is seeing a resurgence in interest for Art Deco design among her clients. Wood explains that the style—featuring elements of high contrast, bold pops of brass and chrome, round silhouettes, and saturated hues—is classically chic yet can look just as modern today as it did 100 years ago when the movement began.
We recently sat down with Woods to find out what she loves about Art Deco design, why it continues to remain relevant, and to learn how we can incorporate Deco glam into our own homes.
As a contemporary designer, how did you first become inspired by the classic Art Deco style?
AW: I’m obsessed with the architecture of cities like Chicago, New York, and Paris and they all have amazing Deco designs. I also love to find design in unexpected places, like Tulsa, a city that often flies under the design radar and has quite a significant Deco presence. I love seeing how much the Tulsa community is doing to restore and preserve their Art Deco buildings, especially the Tulsa Club Hotel.
What do you consider to be the key design characteristics of Art Deco?
AW: Overall, the Art Deco trend inspires high contrast and dramatic spaces, which can be seen in more color saturation, brass, chrome, and luxurious or unexpected materials, such as velvet, concrete, inlay, marble, lacquer, fringe, and smoked glass. Today, we’re also seeing geometric patterns and a rise in material investments, such as marble and burl wood.
Look for pieces that have a bit of glam, geometric patterns, and luxurious materials.
What do you love about Art Deco?
This is a style that feels so tied to a specific moment in time yet still looks modern. We see it and immediately think of the 1920s, the Gatsby era. It’s also over the top and dramatic, which elicits an emotional response when you see it.
In the 1920s and 1930s, this style signified new and modern technologies and was culturally aligned with visions of the future. I think that sentiment still remains; when we look at Art Deco, we associate it with the future.
How are you incorporating Art Deco into designs for modern homes?
At Modsy, we’re seeing Art Deco style influence design and merchandise in a few ways. First, we’re seeing more dramatic color palettes, including highly-saturated earth tones and smokey hues that evoke a similar sense of drama and emotion as high Art Deco spaces.
We’re also seeing a revival of some of the geometric, architectural patterns, especially in lighting fixtures. Finally, we’re seeing an investment in gorgeous materials such as burl, marble, and other natural stones that offer dramatic and luxurious details to any space.
Why do you think Deco has a timeless appeal while other design movements feel outdated?
Perhaps today’s interpretation of Art Deco parallels our own culture’s obsession with technology and the future and suggests a newfound interest in the little luxuries of one’s home. Or, culturally we’re craving bold and dramatic spaces to replace the organic modernism that has ruled the trends for years. Also, we see Deco more in civic and community buildings and film sets, which sort of preserves it. Unlike styles used more in private spaces that individuals cycle through and redesign as times change, Art Deco remains part of our visual landscape.
What are some of your favorite Art Deco-era buildings?
Obvious choices are the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings in New York. I also love the Bullocks-Wilshire department store building in Los Angeles. But an all-time favorite is the Rincon Hill Post Office in San Francisco, which is less over the top, but decorated with amazing WPA murals, terrazzo, and streamlined shapes.