Art Deco debuted in Paris at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts of 1925.
The highly stylized, eclectic design movement succeeded the ornate, organic forms of the Art Nouveau movement. In that short but nonetheless profound interval between the two world wars, 1919-1939, Art Deco was in essence a physical interpretation of the new technology, affluence, excitement, and glamour of the Machine Age.
In architecture, the streamlined buildings symbolized the speed and movement of locomotives, automobiles, and ocean liners; its decorative elements took inspiration from avant-garde artistic movements (Cubism, Surrealism, and Bauhaus), classical antiquity, even Egyptian revivalism—spurred by British archaeologist Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb.
Art Deco’s enduring legacy is immortalized in our architecture, from the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris to the Chicago Board of Trade Building to Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler and the Empire State buildings in New York City.
And it lingers in our hearts and homes: Witness these timeless exemplars of Art Deco architecture in the present moment.