Monday, 9 April 2012

vintage living - the 20s and 30s

The 1920s and 30s had many influences, but one of the most famous world wide was the Art Déco which is inspired by an exhibition in Paris from 1925 called "Exposition Internationale des Art Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes". The style is not easy to define as it includes different ideas as: neoclassicism, constructivism, cubism, modernism and futurism.
At the beginning Art Déco interiors were very detailed and use precious materials and woods, but had already the tendency of being without any ornaments except for the natural pattern of the material. An idea already established in Jugendstil. Very distinctive pieces can be found from the French designer Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann. 

furniture by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann
Art-déco rooms became a trend during the 20s and a new profession was born, the interior designer and design magazines were establishing it even further. But the request for furniture had to be fed, which led to the need for industrializing the furniture production. The first factory produced furniture conquered the market, though the production was still so complicated that one could actually say they are hand-made.

The Modern Movement tried to find answers for this dilemma and the German Bauhaus, the Irish designer Eileen Gray and French architect and designer Le Corbusier, to name just a few creative minds of this time, created an own form language based on strong geometric forms and established the idea of good and cheap furniture for everyone.
During the 30s, these sharp forms became slowly softer and more natural forms could be found.

_architecture classics
But first we will have a look at the architecture classics of this period, the Barcelona Pavillon by Mies van der Rohe and the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier amongst others are good examples for form, material and furniture as well.

Barcelona Pavillon 1929/ Villa Savoye 1931
Shapes and colors are simple and pure. Light and glass play an important role and the classical materials for the interior design are wood, steel, leather and glass, but one can still see the use of precious stones in the marble walls of the Barcelona Pavillon.

The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe is often seen in lobbies of hotels and companies, but also furniture classics by Eileen Gray and Bauhaus designer Marcel Breuer are even today very popular because of their timeless design. 


Eileen Gray's Bibendum chair, Marcel Breuer's Cesca chair, 
Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair,  Marcel Breuer's Wassily chair

And especially here in Finland one name needs to be mentioned: architect and designer Alvar Aalto. The use of natural materials and organic forms are his innovation and the furniture of his company Artek is still known and used world wide.

Villa Mairea by Alvar Aalto
Talking of Alvar Aalto the famous Saoy vase comes to my mind. The usage of pressed glass made objects like the Savoy Vase and the Art Déco objects by René Lalique possible for the first time.The glass art and ceramics vary from floral or natural shapes to geometric ones. 

sketches of the Savoy Vase by Alvar Aalto
and a amber vase by René Lalique

And while having a closer look on the dining table one can find also inspiration from the Russian contructivism and VKhUTEMAS, a similar group like the German Bauhaus, as for example the work of Clarice Cliff has a similar design language.

                               Russian Constructivism
Bizarre cups by Clarice Cliff
_fabrics and textiles
Besides glass and ceramics also fabrics and textiles play an important role. According to the exhibition in Paris the tendency in fabrics went away from floral design to abstract, geometric forms. Walter Gropius, leader of Bauhaus in Germany (1919-28), decorated his office with a big carpet and wall textiles with abstract patterns. Later generations of Bauhaus students got famous for their textile design, as for example Anni Albers and Lena Bergner.

                    Anni Albers 
fabric design

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally someone tells what Art Déco is about... keep educating me :)