Art Deco

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Art Deco, a flexible and decorative art that changed history.

The staple style during the 1920s and 1930s, with its geometrically futuristic linear design, Art Deco was applied in every field, including architecture, furniture, interior design, graphic design, fashion and typography. Its simplistic, symmetric, fluid and futuristic design was easily managed and breathable, in contrast to the frilly Edwardian Art Nouveau designs.

It took the world by storm after the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (although some claimed that the movement started as early as 1910), influenced by works of Romain de Tirtoff (better known as Erté), historical arts like Aztec, Egyptian and Mesopotamian, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Neoclassical, Futurist, Cubist and other modernist style movements. And its forms went on to every World's Fair from the 20s and 30s, then spread to all over the world.

Although the term Art Déco is commonly used, the term was actually coined in The '60s and The '70s during its resurgence after its popularity declined about World War II.

Often this style is found on Diesel Punk and mostly Raygun Gothic settings.


Examples that include the art form or is applied about Art Deco:

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     Comic Books 
  • The Little King comics use this aesthetic, and the animated cartoons based on the comic by Van Beuren Studios have some of their characters designed like this, in order to match the designs of the original comic. The backgrounds are still standard ink wash paintings, and many of the other characters still use the Van Beuren house style.
  • Tony Harris and his successors on Starman gave Opal City a markedly Deco look.

    Film 
  • The film The Rocketeer had Art Deco leanings in it the design of the Rocketeer costume, and the promotional posters were done in this style.
  • The titles in most of the promotional materials for The Great Gatsby (2013) are stylized in Art Deco.
  • The "Ghostbusters building", as explicitly pointed out by Egon. In Real Life it's located at 55 Central Park West; however, the real building is shorter and doesn't have the spire at the top, where the climax takes place—the spire was made using a scale model.
  • The Abominable Dr. Phibes is set in the 1920s and has some gorgeous sets, particularly the house interiors of the main characters.
  • In The Hobbit and its sequels, the dwarf kingdom of Erebor, under the Lonely Mountain, takes its design cues from Art Deco as well, with jagged, angular or sharply parallel elements in its sculptures and interior carvings. The design choice may evoke the Dwarves' connection to mining and precious stones, many of which naturally occur in regular, crystalline, geometric shapes.
  • The Hunger Games: In the movies, much of the architectural and graphic design style in the Capitol takes inspiration from this—the buildings emulate the Soviet/Stalinist Deco school, whilst the trains and sleeker skyscrapers are inspired by "utopian" Diesel Punk styles that would not look out of place in an Ayn Rand novel.

     Literature 
  • Ayn Rand is widely associated with art deco, as the style's bold lines and dramatic ambitions fit nicely with Rand's soaring, grandiloquent style and view of human achievement.

     Live Action Television 
  • The titular hotel in American Horror Story: Hotel was explicitly designed in an art deco style. It's most noticeable in the hotel's huge, grandiose lobby.
  • The design team admitted to basing the sandminer sets in The Robots of Death on Art Deco.
  • The opening titles of Poirot are absolutely pure Art Deco, using a mixture of animation and stage sets with live actors.

     Music 
  • The music videos for "Take Me Out" and "This Fire" from Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand make use of this style a lot, albeit in a very kitsch manner.
  • The artwork for Florence + the Machine' Ceremonials invokes Art Deco, along with the music video for "Spectrum".

    Video Games 
  • A lot of the architecture in BioShock's Rapture is of Art Deco design, drawing a lot of inspiration from 1930's and 40's American architectural styles. The game's pause menu also has a heavy Art Deco influence.
  • The indie fighting game Skullgirls borrows a lot influences of the Art Deco style (stylized as "Dark Deco") and the Golden Age of Hollywood. The music, composed by Michiru Yamane of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night fame, incorporates jazz-styled music of the 1940s to go along with the game's art direction.
  • The Sierra Madre Casino in the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money is designed in art deco style (as is quite a bit of the rest of the Fallout universe to varying extents).
  • The loading screens in Dragon Age II have significant art deco design influences.
  • The fifth installment of Civilization has some influences in Art Deco, particularly in the user interface.
  • Cloudbank in Transistor has some obvious art deco influences, mixed in TRON-like aesthetics in a Midgar-esque cyberpunk setting.

     Western Animation 

     Real Life 
  • Romain "Erté" de Tirtoff's fashion illustrations.
  • Most of Tamara de Lempicka's paintings.
  • The French Fashion Magazine La Gazette Du Bon Ton that ran from late 1912 to 1925 is a forerunner of this, composing of at the time cutting edge fashion designs illustrated by artists like Georges Barbier, Pierre Brissaud, Paul Iribe and Erté.
  • New York City skyscrapers, like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, are heavily built on Art Deco.
  • Nowadays derisively-called Stalinist Architecture of the 1933-1955 period in the Soviet Union was a heavily politicized derivative of Art Deco and Post-Constructivist movements.
  • Rather funnily, an entire class of automotive design which emerged during The Great Depression and died hopelessly during The Fifties, the "aerodynamic fastback" style. Most widely-known examples: Lincoln Zephyr and Cord 810 / 812. It relied on a specific set of conditions to be met: relatively low-powered engines were not quite the best for performance (original VW Bug had barely 24hp!), yet the roads were still sparsely-populated with cars, so designers went to aerodynamic body shapes to increase efficiency and speed like in advanced aircraft of the time, and also to break with the tradition of frilly, horse-carriage inspired earlier designs. Once the new high-compression engines came after the early 1950s, there was less interest in aerodynamics.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at the Disney Theme Parks in California Adventure and Disneyland Paris are built in this style. According to details around the attraction, the building was constructed in 1917 and the story of the ride takes place in 1939.
  • The fashion house/department store Biba was the poster child for Art Deco Revival that occurred during The '70s.
  • Many hotels and luxury establishments still use Deco or a modernised variant of this in their interior and visual design, as Art Deco is closely associated with prosperity and luxury even today.
  • The related Bauhaus movement in Germany was denounced as decadent and Jewish by the Nazis and officially discouraged.
  • San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, which was built in the 1930s.
  • Hoover Dam, also built in the 1930s, has some amazing Art Deco elements.

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