Author(s): GREEN OLIVER
Art deco refers to a striking range of decorative design styles that emerged in the early twentieth century. Original art deco is characterised by bold colours, geometric shapes, and sweeping curves. Novel materials and advances in technology suggested a mechanised design future over a hand crafted past, and art deco reflected this in its dynamic aesthetic style. Art deco became particularly associated with leisure and entertainment in the jazz age, giving cinemas, hotels and department stores a touch of Hollywood glamour. It was an eclectic modernism that had no clear boundaries and could be applied to anything from a suburban bathroom to a new power station or an ocean liner. By the 1930s deco was morphing into the smooth curves of streamlining, a style which emphasised the speed of modern cars, trains, and airliners. This luxury decoration had no place in wartime. Art deco style disappeared with the outbreak of the Second World War after burning brightly for less than fifteen years. This book looks at the brief arc of art deco in Britain, with pointers to the best surviving structures and pieces of decoration that can still be found on the streets of Britain.