Art Deco Exuberance: Chrysler Building
Art Deco was born in Paris and was most exuberant in the United States. What defined Art Deco as a style was its ornamental quality. Its rise coincided with two genuine movements: the neo-Classicism that gave birth to Fascist architecture in Germany and Italy, and the Modernism born of the Bauhaus that focused on democratic functionalism. Art Deco had no such weighty aspirations. It aimed to be glamorous, entertaining, sexy, exotic and outrageous. As Europe slid toward disaster, it offered escapism.
Source: Alan Riding, New York Times
In the years between the world wars, everything from furniture and fashion to architecture and industrial design came under the sway of a flashy art style variously known as Industrial Moderne, Jazz Moderne and Streamline Moderne. Flourishing nearly everywhere, it represented the first global design fad. Yet by the time it ran out of steam, it still had no agreed name. Only in the mid-1960's was it tagged Art Deco.
Condemned by Modernists as decadent, Art Deco's interiors were soon being replaced by ''cleaner'' looks, but in the 1970's a certain nostalgia for Art Deco set in. Postmodernist architecture paid it homage, and Art Deco houses in, say, Miami were restored and admired. Its place in shaping modern taste was recognized. How else to embrace ornate jewelry, lacquered furniture, flapper dresses, speedy sports cars, jazz, Josephine Baker, Hollywood, cheap consumer goods and the Chrysler building?