Art Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art
Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday
objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale
des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in
Paris in 1925. It combined modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented
luxury, glamour and faith in social and technological progress.
From the start, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism; the bright colors of Fauvism and of the
Ballets Russes; the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe I and Louis XVI; and the exotic
styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art. It featured rare and expensive materials, such as
ebony and ivory, and exquisite craftsmanship. The Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers of New York built during the
1920s and 1930s are monuments of the Art Deco style.
In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the Art Deco style became more subdued. New materials arrived, including chrome
plating, stainless steel, and plastic. A sleeker form of the style, called Streamline Moderne, appeared in the 1930s; it
featured curving forms and smooth, polished surfaces. Art Deco is one of the first truly international styles, but its
dominance ended with the beginning of World War II and the rise of the strictly functional and unadorned styles of modernism
and the International Style of architecture that followed.