Art Deco: Futuristic, Bold Design and Beautiful Symmetry

During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance and faith in social and technological progress.

Make sure you are listening to Fergie’s A Little Party Never Killed Nobody and Will.I.Am’s Bang Bang for your added entertainment while reading this insightful blog:
Bang Bang - A little party never killed Nobody 

Is it wrong to have favourites? While I love all my children (tiles baby!), there is no escaping the fact that the Art Deco era continues to be one of the most fabulously inspiring periods in architecture and design full stop. The Roaring 20s represented an almost religious furore in the uptake of sophisticated commerce, fashion, music and a heightened sense of awareness of the future.

Grand metropolis-style cities with people commuting to work rather than working locally, and ostentatious displays of wealth marked the social transition of the white collar worker with suit, tie and daily broadsheet paper as a cog in a big wheel. (It was almost a perfect storm for what led to the Great Depression of the 1930s). Mass appeal and grand statements showcased what you could acquire with old money or hard work.

Gatsby Fabulousness

In terms of visual arts, it was also a period that saw the transition from silent films such as The Little Tramp by Charlie Chaplin to the miracles of sound in Al Johnson’s The Jazz Singer. Art Deco also coincided with the decadent jazz age of the 20s, where the IT Girl was a “flapper”. My all-time favourite movie to represent the period in terms of its modern allegory and striking geometric shapes was the iconic Fritz Lang film of 1927, Metropolis (

Evolving from the more organic flourishes of the Art Nouveau period, Deco emphasises strong symmetrical and geometric shapes: patterns usually integrated spheres, polygons, rectangles, trapezoids, zigzags, chevrons, and sunburst motifs. Modern materials were able to be mass-produced at a relatively affordable price so the introduction of aluminium, stainless steel, Bakelite, chrome, and plastics, were frequently used.

Party scene in The Great Gatsby Movie
Modern culture continues to be drawn to the era. From the highly aspirational (some would suggest cautionary tale) The Great Gatsby 1925 novel, which became the 1974 film with Robert Redford then the highly stylised Luhrmann-Martin extravaganza from 2013). We have embraced the HBO series Boardwalk Empire for the same extravagant, noire ambience.

While today we seek artisanal, unique and bespoke, it was the uniformity of modern designs that were able to be created by modern manufacturing that were aspirational. When I picture Art Deco, I see intricate stained glass inlays, mirrors, geometric patterned tiles and rich lacquer all come to mind. Rich, decadent colours and contrasts in interior design continue to make this theme exciting for architects today.

Art Deco at Byzantine Design

So if all this reminiscing and daydreaming of a halcyon era gets you hot under the collar, you have come to the right place! Naturally you will need some antique bevelled mirror subway style tiles in black or silver white for a splashback or spectacular bathroom.

Mirror Subway Tiles
Alternatively you may wish to incorporate the geometric beauty of hexagon-shaped calacatta mosaic or an updated shape with the stunning Carrara long octagon with Grey marble dot.
Carrara long octagon w Grey dot & Calacatta Hex 

Carrara & Thassos Chevron, Carrara & Nero Chevron, Carrara Chevron 

Now of course no Art Deco aficionado worth their salt could miss using chevron and we have some beauties in store, but the most fun you will have when designing your Art Deco project will be selecting from our amazing patterned encaustics such as the Evelyn in sage grey and black & white...I just can't even!  
Evelyn Sage Grey and Black & White Encaustic Tile 

Finally, for the most beautiful rugs of the era you will ever see, please make sure you visit Designer Rugs Deco collections by
uber-talented Catherine Martin:

For more Art Deco/Great Gatsby inspo read on here:

The style is often characterized by rich colours, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation. Historian Bevis Hillier defined Art Deco as "an assertively modern style [that] ran to symmetry rather than asymmetry, and to the rectilinear rather than the curvilinear; it responded to the demands of the machine and of new material [and] the requirements of mass production"

That's it from us for this week, 'til next time our tile obsessed friends... 

XOXO Byzantine Design  

Changing the World one tile at a time.


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