Art Deco Style In Architecture – Features With Case Studies

Architecture in the Art Deco era encompasses more than just building design. It represents a bygone period of glitz, wealth, and refinement. A sense of romance and mystery is evoked by the sweeping curves, minute details, and striking color choices, bringing the viewer into a lavish and opulent realm. These structures are pieces of art in addition to being functional.

More than merely a sentimental relic, the Art Deco style has lasting value. It is a celebration of human imagination and a representation of the capacity of a designer to push the bounds of what is conceivable and produce something genuinely stunning. These structures are a monument to the ability of architecture to arouse emotion and spark awe, and they capture the essence of the time in which they were built.

History And Typology

Emerging in Paris during the 1920s, Art Deco developed into a major style after the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), where it first found the name “Art Décoratifs.” During the 1930s, Art Deco was becoming a trendy architectural style. There are various reasons for its popularity. Its flamboyance charmed the elite, while others regarded it as a sign of hope and upward progress, which was prevalent in a broad range of industries such as graphic arts, furniture design, and architecture.

Features Of Art Deco

It was distinguished by its sharp lines, geometric forms, and use of luxurious materials like glass, gold, and silver. Art deco, also known as “style moderne”,  designers paid close attention to an object’s aesthetics, particularly its form and character, and buildings were therefore embellished with countless surface decorations and abstract patterns. Details on the building were designed to reflect the speed and power of the automobile industry, as well as the new and modern technologies of the time.

The Art Deco style is manifested in a variety of ways, including architectural form, components, and decorative aspects. The majority of the Deco architecture in the city is found in apartment buildings, although it is also present in theatres, institutions, hotels, and commercial buildings. Many of these buildings are still standing today, tucked away among the brand-new high-rises that are taking over the city skyline.

1) Geometric patterns:

Bands, chevrons, stripes, zigzags, square and oblong shapes transform these simple structures into ornate constructions. These bands and patterns, generally painted in contrasting colours, transform buildings into works of art.

Geometric Design

2) Bold Colors:

Art Deco is renowned for its use of strong, vivid hues such as metallic gold, silver, and bronze, in addition to black and primary colors.

Bold Colors

3) Mirrored and Glass Surfaces:

Mirrors and glass surfaces were widely used in Art Deco architecture to reflect light and add glamour.

Mirror and Glass Surfaces

4) Streamlined Forms:

Elongated forms, curving lines, and bands known as “speed lines” reflect the Deco era’s fascination with speed on symmetrical building facades. Aerodynamic advances in locomotive design, particularly those made in vehicles, were the driving force behind them.

Streamlined Forms

5) Illustrative Elements:

Art Deco is famous for its use of illustrative elements, which were frequently included in the overall design. Examples include stylized flowers, animals, humans, cultural context, fonts or traditional scripts, and numerous bas reliefs.

Illustrative Elements

6) Combination of Traditional and Modern Materials:

Traditional materials like wood and stone were frequently blended with contemporary materials like plastic, concrete, and stainless steel in some countries while RCC played a major role in the construction in other parts of the world.

Combination of Traditional and Modern

Case Studies

1) Chrysler Building, New York:

Chrysler Building

Architect: William Van Alen

Built in: 1930

The Chrysler Building is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved examples of Art Deco architecture in the world, despite its age. It symbolizes the importance of New York City as a major industrial and commercial center, which continues to inspire and draw visitors from all over the world. The structure is one of the most sought-after locations in the city and is now being used as office space.

  1. Clean lines and geometric shapes: The use of streamlined, geometric forms, elaborate metalwork and ornamentation define the building.
  2. Metallic decorations: One of the most recognizable elements is the triangular crown that is embellished with a number of metal sunburst and eagles.
  3. Materiality: The combination of metal and glass in the construction of the Chrysler Building is another unique feature. The façade of the building is wrapped in metal panels that reflect sunlight and give it a shining appearance.
  4. Streamlined form: The elements, together with the building’s sleek, streamlined shape, are Art Deco style traits that demonstrate how the machine era affected architecture and design.
  5. Structural and Ornamental/Decorative Features: As the Chrysler Building rises, the tower grows smaller in a variety of places known as “setbacks.” As more and more structures were built next to one another, the setbacks gave them an attractive appearance.

It’s crucial to note that a wave of brand-new skyscrapers—tall buildings that stand for advancement, inventiveness, and modernity—rose in New York City during the economic boom of the 1920s, despite setbacks in art deco design. The building is art deco not just on the surface, but also on the inside, with lavishly adorned stone interiors with art deco motifs. The upper floors are not open to the public, but the lobby offers a good impression of the building’s quality, with onyx, red Moroccan marble walls, and burned Sienna coloured carpeting.

Decorative Forms

2) Eros cinema, Mumbai

Eros Cinema

Architect:  Shorabji Bhedwar

Built in: 1938

Mumbai’s iconic Eros Cinema has made a significant contribution to the cultural heritage of the city. Eros Cinema is a symbol of the inventiveness and innovation of the Art Deco era and is renowned for its graceful design. The Eros Cinema is one of the most exquisite and well-preserved Art Deco theatres in the world, and is still a well-known landmark in Mumbai despite the passage of time as It draws both residents and visitors.

  1. Clean lines and geometric shapes: The Eros Cinema facade is distinguished by its strong vertical and horizontal lines as well as its use of squares, rectangles, and circles among other geometric shapes.
  2. Metallic decorations: The exterior of the building is embellished with complex metallic decorations, such as polished brass and aluminium features, which stand out dramatically against the vibrant mosaics and colour blocks.
  3. Bold colours: Another characteristic of Art Deco architecture is the use of strong, brilliant colours, such as the vibrant mosaics on the facade.
  4. Streamlined form: The building’s facade is distinguished by its streamlined forms, which give it a contemporary and elegant appearance.
  5. Art Deco motifs: The front features several iconic Art Deco design elements, including zigzag lines, starburst forms, and stylized flora and fauna.
  6. Sense of modernity: The Art Deco movement’s primary goal was to convey a sense of modernity and elegance via the use of geometric shapes, bold colours, curved walls and clean lines.
  7. Ornate details: Although the Eros Cinema exterior has crisp edges and streamlined shapes, it also has ornate accents and elaborate patterns, such mosaics and metallic accents, that are typical of Art Deco design.

Eros Cinema’s interior is just as spectacular as its exterior. The theatre has a grand entrance with a grand staircase and a polished marble floor. The auditorium’s intricate mouldings, frescoes, and crystal chandeliers give the space a refined and beautiful appearance. Additionally, the theatre has a big screen, cosy seats, and cutting-edge sound and projection equipment to provide viewers with a really immersive and pleasurable film experience.

Bold Colours
A Sense of Modernity

The era of modernity that was quintessentially popular, with the help of technology, celebrated contemporary materials and quality workmanship that symbolises prosperity and finesse. Previously, ornamental features in the design were restrained by the constraints imposed by the building materials used to construct the structure and the dominant architectural style. Material and scale played an important role in defining the characteristic of the buildings.

While New York is packed with Art Deco buildings in the form of skyscrapers and luxurious, gleaming buildings, Mumbai’s RCC made buildings are in complete contrast. Most of the Deco buildings in Mumbai are four stories to maintain the uniformity of the urban fabric. The production and use of RCC made it easier to showcase nautical features and elements as a symbol of the port city. Oval Maidan, Mumbai is home to numerous Art Deco buildings along the coastal edge.

With the emergence of new technology, architects were freed from the limitations of the past, allowing them to experiment with a wide range of shapes, materials, and forms and a broad range of industries such as graphic arts, furniture design, and architecture. Despite its critics, Art Deco architecture is a lasting emblem of a period when the world was full of passion, glamour, and enthusiasm. In a world that often feels bland and homogenized, the Art Deco architecture style serves as a reminder of the beauty and excitement of the past.