• Steven Heller

Jewels of Deco Architecture

As a commercial alternative (and perhaps an ideological one too) to the hard edge of 20s Modern design, a voluptuous hybrid known as art moderne emerged throughout the world as an art, architecture, design, fashion, and product style. Arnold Schwartzman has been documenting the artifacts of what later became called deco for decades. His most recent book ART DECO: The Twentieth Century’s Iconic Decorative Style from Paris, London, and Brussels to New York, Sydney, and Santa Monica (Rizzoli) ia jewel box of modernistic treats. And despite the misleading cover photo (an interior making it seem like a book about interior design), the book is really about ornament, type and graphic design in architecture and on the streets. Gorgeous!!!

The origin of the art moderne style came in 1925 and quickly swept the globe, epitomizing Jazz Age glamor and sophistication. Drawing from a variety of influences spanning ancient Egyptian, Moorish, and Mayan motifs but also modernist movements like Cubism, Fauvism, and De Stijl, the Art Deco (as it came to be known) movement gained prominence not only with architects and designers but enjoyed a passionate following among the public as well.

Schwartzman’s vast treasure trove of images taken over the span of sixty years. This book highlights some of the world’s most extraordinary examples in his photos that zoom in on murals, mosaics, flooring, ironwork, and other ornamental flourishes.

Schwartzman is also the author of a score of books including London Art Deco and Deco Landmarks: Art Deco Gems of Los Angeles. In 2010, he created the two murals for the Grand Lobby of Cunard’s Queen Elizabethwhich for a “decofficiano” was a dream come true.

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