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Art Deco Architecture


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The Dawn of Deco: History of Art Deco Architecture
GE Building inscription - Wisdom and Knowledge Shall be the Stability of thy Times

GE Building inscription at 30 Rock - Wisdom and Knowledge Shall be the Stability of thy Times

Photo © Jackie Craven

Art Deco:

The "jazzed," zigzag design approach popular in the late 1920s and the 30s. Its name stems from L'Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes of 1925 in Paris, also known as Moderne—G. E. Kidder Smith FAIA, Sourcebook of American Architecture, Princeton Architectural Press, 1996, p. 644

The Art Deco inscription at the entrance to 30 Rock in New York City is from the Bible, the Book of Isaiah 33:6: "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure." Architect Raymond Hood embraced traditional religious scripture with an electrifying, bearded figure. The mix of old and new is what characterizes Art Deco.

During the roaring twenties and the early thirties, jazzy Art Deco architecture was the rage. Like any style, it evolved from many sources. The austere shapes of the Bauhaus School and streamlined styling of modern technology combined with patterns and icons taken from the Far East, ancient Greece and Rome, Africa, India, and Mayan and Aztec cultures. But most of all, Art Deco expressed excitement over a stunning archaeological find in Egypt—the tomb of King Tut.

Next: Echoes From the Tomb >>

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