There’s something magical about the ‘Roaring Twenties’: World War 1 was over, and it seemed, for a while at least, that everything had returned to normal. There was something optimistic about that time too, with people thinking that modern technology was a force to be admired, and that the future was wide open in terms of potential. This aesthetic informed one of the great art movements of the time, and it touched everything from cigarette lighters to skyscrapers, and of course, table lamps lighting!
The style in question was Art Deco, and if you’re not familiar with it, think of a celebration of the machine age, with lots of streamlined metal ornamentation, fused with other facinations of the time (particularly from archaeology). It was a wonderfully distinct aesthetic that reminds people of jazz, early cinema and a world full of optimism.
Examples include the Empire State Building, and perhaps even more distinctly, the Chrysler building in New York. Once you enter any of these buildings, and view the decorative elements inside and out, you begin to get a feel for this style. It also comes through in the industrial design of the time, as is evident in some of the motor cars of the period. And if you’re still having trouble visualizing the style, just think of the old Flash Gordon movies!
Art Deco for Art Deco’s sake
Unlike many art movements, Art Deco was purely decorative: there were no underlying political statements being made, although some of the influences were based on improvements in technology, aerodynamics and other stuff that excited designers at the time. Art Deco lamps continue to carry this tradition through to this day.
There is often confusion between Art Deco, and Art Nouveau, which, in terms of table lamps lighting, was probably best defined by Tiffany lights. We’ll look at them in more detail in another post.
There’s no one particular ‘type’ of table lamps lighting that fits the Art Deco style, yet even in the diversity of models available, from metallic Egyptian goddesses, to swooping silver curves, one can always recognize an Art Deco lamp as being from that era!