ART DECO came to prominence in France during the austere inter World War era promising glamorous style and a sense of optimism for a weary post war Europe and America. Primarily a decorative arts movement, its groundbreaking use of new materials, motifs and form went on to influence architecture and interiors. It encompassed fashion, fabrics and jewellery and was characterised by sleek smooth lines and exciting new elements.
Unfamiliar exotic materials such as ebony, mother of pearl, ivory, tortoiseshell, burr walnut and palm wood came to prominence for the first time to embellish bedsteads, dressing tables, screens and chaises lounges.
Furthermore, industrial advances had given rise to exciting new possibilities in metalwork and the world-wide depression was counterpointed by a return to fantasy and glamour, fuelled by the machine age and the availability of emotive new materials such as bronze work and chrome. It coincided, not unsurprisingly with the height of Hollywood golden age as the period of talkies began in earnest with the large and cash-rich film studios investing in high style Art Deco inspired movie houses.
Prestige hotels were to follow the lush extravagance of the new look creating exquisite rooms with interior design that reflected the fantasy images of the time.
Bedroom themes were often unashamedly sumptuous fostering a mood of glamour and seduction with large layered mirrors, new oval and round bed shapes, and bed heads that featured geometric chevrons, sunbursts, animal motifs and stylized flowers.
Bronze and silver panelling, lacquer work and chrome metal, was used on everything from bed frames and chests of drawers to free standing screens, windows and doors. Wooden beds in exotic woods such as walnut and rosewood, were also highly desirable.
These days’ original Deco-style beds in polished steel or wood finishes, are collectors items, but achieving the look with dextrous use of colour, fabrics and modern reproductions is not difficult. A nickel bed or chrome bed such as the Tain or Andreas cannot fail to make an assertive Art Deco style statement and for true Deco glamour, a Ramore in rich silver patina finish would set the tone for any 1920’s bedroom theme.
Try teaming these up with animal skin bedroom fabrics for maximum effect. Leopard skin prints and stripy black and white zebra prints were unfailingly popular during the era and successfully combined inviting quality with opulent design.
Fake fur throws, chrome wall lighting, silk bedding and highly lacquered wooden bedroom furniture are all re-emerging and being used to great effect in modern Art Deco bedroom settings.
Using colours sparingly will complete the mood and for true authenticity, raspberry reds, shimmery gold and silvers were all colours in vogue during the period, each reflective and translucent in tone. Black combining green, red or white would also have been popular choices with accents of chrome and gold.
For a softer bedroom mood, pale blue or dove greys would also be in keeping with the spirit of the era for true definitive Art Deco intrigue in any home. Deco style was way ahead of it’s time and the many elements that create the theme retain the relevance and the integrity to captivate the heart and eye in today’s modern times.