Art Deco Inspiration

It’s been a while since I last posted.  I really felt like I was getting into a rhythm there for a bit…  Oh, well.

Lots has been keeping me busy lately.  A recent project is an redesign of the kitchen in a very charming, and very unique, Art Deco period home here in Victoria.  When doing some of the research for design inspirations, I found a few images that really knocked my socks off.  While Art Deco isn’t really a style that I gravitate to in my own taste, I can really appreciate the aesthetic and the huge momentum behind this style.  One of my favourite finds during my research on Art Deco and influences was the S.S. Normandie.

The SS Normandie was a French ocean liner – the fastest and largest passenger ship on the seas when it was launched for service in 1935.  The interiors were luxuriously appointed in the Art Deco style, and many of the passenger spaces on board the ship served first-class passengers from both France and the United States.

French architect Roger-Henri Expert was in charge of the overall interior decor.  The many grand spaces on the ship reflected both the Art Deco style of the times, as well as highlighting the glory of the largest and fastest ship in which they were appointed.  The stylings were modern and triumphant – a celebration of modern man’s conquering the seas and of the impressive advances in technology during this time.

The first class dining room used repeating geometric shapes and motifs, typical of Art Deco, to create a grand and visually dynamic space, likened to the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.  The repetition of strong vertical lines creates an impression of height and of dynamic strength, both important underlying dynamics represented by Art Deco.  The lavishness of the design is both a nod to the abilities made possible by advances in technology, as well as a reaction to the severity of WWI.

Personally, I really love the repetition of the lighting in this room, especially the enormous “floor chandeliers” that line the walls and echo the shape of the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  The stepped form is reminiscent of  many art deco buildings, including the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.  Art Deco on the whole relied on repeating motifs, and this repetition of form wasn’t strictly limited to any one facet of design during the time; many common Art Deco motifs can be found on the exteriors of buildings, as elements of interior design, in fashion and jewelry, in household items such as lamps and radios, and in the design of cars and other modes of transportation.  A shape or motif used in the design of a skyscraper can be found applied to a light fixture on an ocean liner as well.

I really found my research into this era fascinating, and it really helped inform some elements of the design of the kitchen I’ve been working on.  The pattern on the countertop, flooring, cabinetry details and hardware all have some element that speaks to the Art Deco style while finding a place in a modern, functional kitchen.

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