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Art Deco 101 - The Fall of Art Deco

Why did Art Deco go out of style?

In the consumer market, styles change quickly. If Art Deco had stayed in style, unchanged, that would have been weird. Instead, Art Deco adapted with the times, and after a good run, became dated. Like all good things, it was superceded by the next style.

Art Deco in architecture went out of style for three main reasons.

The biggest reason is that Art Deco, as a style, was never the predominant style in the first place. Even in the Art Deco era, a minority of buildings were Art Deco.

Secondly, Art Deco no longer expressed what clients wanted it to say. Where Art Deco was once new and bold and strong, it now perceived as too much of a muchness. Nobody wanted that anymore. The people who paid for buildings wanted that said NOW, not yesterday.

Finally, World War 2 came along. Europe had lost many building, and they needed to rebuild as fast as possible to house its people and get its economies working again. Decoration became secondary. In America, we were the sole industrial power left in the world, and that led us to just as much building. Because construction boomed, skill construction labor became harder to secure, construction materials became harder to secure, and construction times were short. To meet these new needs, architecture turned to an architectural style that could be built faster, with fewer materials, for less cost, and less manpower. That was modern architecture.

Return to: Art Deco 101

Douglas Milewski is a fantasy writer who liked drafting class too much. In his recent artistic struggles to produce art deco for his own covers, he found no internet sites dedicated to the technical underpinnings of the art. Seeing a niche that needed filling, he has documented his hard learned experiences. He doesn't claim that he's right, and would very much appreciate it if someone more competent would save him from his own folly.

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