Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Art Deco

One of the settings in my upcoming novel Occultus is a hotel designed in the 1930s in New York City.  Art Deco and the first real building boom in New York City converged and so there are many beautiful representations of this elegant architecture.  With influences from such artistic movements as cubism and fauvism, Art Deco featured rare materials such as ebony and ivory, geometric shapes and bright colours. Though during the Great Depression more subdued materials such as stainless steel and plastic were used. 

Art Deco takes its name from Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925.  Tied in with the emergence of decorative artists, who had formally been considered as artisans, in areas such as furniture making and textiles, Art Deco became a popular style.  This popularity of Art Deco saw decorative artists being recruited to work in design studios.  At its birth between 1910 and 1914, Art Deco saw an explosion of colour and pattern in designs.  Cubism that emerged in France between 1907 and 1912 also had a huge influence in the developing Art Deco movement.  Art Deco was a collection of similar and sometimes opposing styles synthesised.  The skyscrapers in New York City were a culmination of Art Deco architecture.  They were designed to represent the prestige of their builders through their colour, height, shape and dramatic night illumination.  

The interior of Art Deco buildings were always colourful, dynamic and combined sculptures, murals and ornate geometric designs in marble and glass.  

The building that is used by my characters is a fictional hotel but with the history of a New York City Art Deco Hotel.  The individual rooms are still preserved in the story and are furnished in their original elegant and elaborate Art Deco style.  Having travelled to many places in the world, including New York City, and having enjoyed staying in places with this architecture and interior design, I felt it was perfect for my novel.  The architecture and design of Art Deco has a specific sort of glamour that I felt was relevant to Occultus and the characters inhabiting the novel.  



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