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Blog | Robert Allen

The New Art Deco: A Q&A With Our Designers

The New Art Deco: A Q&A With Our Designers

The movement known as Art Deco originated in the 1920s and became a major influence after World War II and the disruption of Spanish Flu — a scenario much like our current situation with COVID-19. So, it’s no surprise to see this design trend making a comeback in 2021.

We recently asked our Robert Allen design team to share their insights regarding the New Art Deco and how this iconic, century-old style is influencing and inspiring designers today. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: What is the history behind Art Deco?

A: In 1925, the Paris International Exhibition of Modern Decorations and Industrial Arts sparked a movement — originally called “style moderne” — that changed the way we live today. With luxury air travel becoming more accessible and the advent of talking movies, the introduction of new materials, the dawn of art culture and the new popularity of functional interiors, our lives improved as the world became more modern.

Newness and rebirth were top of mind. Innovation was the motivating factor in how the country and the world recovered. In the “Roaring 20s,” art and artists flourished, and industry boomed. Fashion was reinvented as women were liberated from long skirts, adopted the “Flapper” style of dress, and began to wear trousers for the first time.

Q: What is your perspective on the resurgence of Art Deco?

A: The resurgence of Art Deco design is almost second nature; so much of life has changed, and that changes how we live. The home has become more than just a house. It is a workplace, a school, a shopping mall, a neighborhood restaurant. We live differently today. The norms have been shattered. This is why the resurgence of Art Deco is trending as the zeitgeist guiding design and home interiors. Lifestyle evolves!

Q: How has Art Deco influenced Robert Allen’s design ethos and interior designers in their work?

A: You could trace the origins of modern furniture silhouettes, geometric fabrics, performance textiles and the importance of covered storage to the Art Deco period. One of the most influential designers of the era was Jean-Michel Frank (shown above). The linear lines of his furniture, and his devotion to adorn every surface he touched propelled him to design icon status. He understood the art of living and living well.

His influence can be seen in Robert Allen Duralee exclusive fabric designs, such as Wing Span in Haystack (shown at left), and his classic furniture shapes inspired the Warren sofa and Hudson bed from our furniture collection.

This aesthetic speaks to an audience that wishes to simplify their lives. Clean lines, and compact shapes are intriguing and give us a sort of freedom from more complicated furnishings.

Q: What exemplifies the New Art Deco?

A: Innovative, Style, Functionality and Shared Progress.

Picasso was ahead of his time, and he always knew it. His influence looms large. But now, style is resurrecting and reinventing itself, coming to life in meaningful and modern ways. Designers embrace the "New Art Deco" movement in ways that add pleasure and value to their clients’ lives.

There isn’t one element that exemplifies the new Art Deco. The ways we live are individual and tailored to each family unit, and we’re still figuring it out. The great thing about the New Art Deco is that it’s just the beginning. We have so much to look forward to. The world discovered Cubism in the 1900s, and with it, an explanation of human instinct and how we compartmentalize life. Art Deco in the 2020s is an exciting proposition, an opportunity to reinvent your whole environment.

Q: What Robert Allen fabrics and/or wallcoverings reflect the Art Deco style?

A: The thing you notice about all things Art Deco is that every stylized shape, motif, gesture and line extends upward. That signifies forward thinking, reaching out to capture what’s new. Our assortment of Art Deco-inspired wovens, jacquards, performance upholstery, outdoor fabrics, prints and sheers hold fast to that idea of a brighter future.

Here are a few examples of Robert Allen fine fabric styles that reflect the Art Deco aesthetic.

Q: How do you see the New Art Deco trend pairing in our current/modern situation?

A: The first place you spot lifestyle trends is in architecture: curved walls, bold materials, contrasting colors, and optimistic structures designed to bring the outside in with tall windows and courtyard gardens.

Robert Allen’s Hadley chair (shown at left) feels like architecture; the verticality of the channeling is dramatic and speaks directly to 1920s interior design.

Bold, rich textiles feel modern although they hearken back to the area that brought about the Modern Age. This is the New Art Deco.

All of the fabrics and wallcoverings shown in this post can be found on our website. Please stay tuned to our blog as we continue to explore exciting trends in the world of design and offer inspiration for all your upcoming projects.