In the early 20th century, a new style of art and architecture emerged in Europe and America that would soon become known as Art Deco. This movement, characterized by its bold lines, geometric shapes, and modern aesthetic, would go on to dominate the design world for over a decade. In this article, we will explore the origins and evolution of Art Deco, its impact on art, architecture, and design, and the legacy it left behind.

Origins of Art Deco

Art Deco emerged in the aftermath of World War I, a time marked by social and cultural upheaval, industrialization, and technological advancements. The movement drew inspiration from a range of sources, including ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and Greece, as well as modernist art and design movements like Cubism, Futurism, and Constructivism.

The Art of Art Deco

Art Deco was first and foremost an art movement, and it represented a departure from the ornate and decorative styles that had dominated the 19th century. Artists working in the Art Deco style favored simplicity, boldness, and abstraction. The movement was characterized by its use of geometric shapes, bright colors, and symmetry.

The Architecture of Art Deco

Art Deco was not just an art movement but also an architectural style. The movement was characterized by its use of new materials, such as chrome, glass, and concrete, as well as its emphasis on function over form. Skyscrapers, public buildings, and private residences all incorporated Art Deco elements, including streamlined shapes, ziggurat motifs, and machine-like details.

The Impact of Art Deco

Art Deco had a profound impact on the world of design and aesthetics, influencing everything from fashion and advertising to furniture and jewelry. It also had a significant impact on the emerging field of graphic design, with many Art Deco artists and designers creating iconic posters and advertisements.

Art Deco and Social Change

Art Deco also reflected the cultural and social changes taking place in the world during the early 20th century. The movement emerged at a time when women’s roles in society were changing, and Art Deco fashion helped to define the new look of the modern woman. The movement was also associated with the Jazz Age, a time of hedonism, excess, and social change.

The Legacy of Art Deco

Although Art Deco only dominated the design world for a relatively short time, its influence can be seen in many aspects of contemporary design. The movement’s emphasis on geometric shapes, abstraction, and modernism can be seen in everything from advertising to furniture to architecture.

Art Deco in Popular Culture

Art Deco has also had a significant impact on popular culture. The visual style of Art Deco has been featured in numerous films, TV shows, and video games, and it remains a popular choice for designers and artists looking to capture the glamorous and sophisticated vibe of the early 20th century.


Art Deco was a revolutionary movement that reflected the social and cultural turmoil of the early 20th century. It was a departure from the ornate and decorative styles that had dominated the previous century, emphasizing simplicity, boldness, and abstraction. Although the movement only dominated the design world for a few short years, its influence can still be seen today in many aspects of modern design and popular culture.


1. Duncan, A. (1995). Art deco. Thames & Hudson.

2. Breeze, C. (2019). 20th-century art deco. Flame Tree Publishing.

3. Bayer, P. (2006). Art Deco architecture. Thames & Hudson.

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