The style we now call Art Deco originated in Europe in the early 20th Century, and its heyday was from 1920 to 1940.
It became widely known following the great Exposition des Arts Modernes Decoratifs et Industriels, held in Paris in 1925 and from which its name was ultimately derived.
By the late 1930s it was in its streamlined phase and after World War II, the International Style, devoid of all decoration, held sway. Not until the late 1960s did people begin to rediscover it and take it seriously.
Art Deco expressed all the vigor and optimism of the roaring twenties, and the idealism and escapism of the grim thirties.
Its decorative themes are:
• Sunbursts and fountains - representing the dawn of a new modern age.
• The Skyscraper shape - symbolic of the 20th century.
• Symbols of speed, power and flight - the exciting new developments in transport and communications.
• Geometric shapes - representing the machine and technology which it was thought would solve all our problems.
• The new woman - reveling in her recently won social freedoms.
• Breaking the rules - cacophonous jazz, short skirts and hair, shocking dances.
• Ancient cultures - for oddly enough, there was a fascination with the civilizations of Egypt and Central America.
All of these themes are represented on the buildings of Napier, most of which are still standing today and are lovingly cared for by their owners. Nearby Hastings was also stricken by the earthquake and has many buildings in the same Art Deco style.
Why rebuild in the Art Deco Style?
Art Deco Trust PO Box 133, 7 Tennyson Street Napier Hawke's Bay 4110 New Zealand
P + 64 6 835 0022 F + 64 6 835 1912 Freephone 0800 427 833 E