The Dilema: Art Nouveau vs. Art Deco
The Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements emerged as a reaction to major world events.
Art Nouveau was a response to the radical changes caused by the rapid urban development and technological advances that followed the Industrial Revolution, while Art Deco emerged after World War I from an era of social strife, hunger marches and the political battle between Communism and Facism.
Both movements embraced modernist elements, but they are easy to distinguish by their unique style.
The Art Nouveau appeared in the early 1880s and lasted until the beginning of World War I. It had a shimmering presence in urban centers throughout Europe and North America.
Art Nouveau designers simmultaneously rejected traditional styles in favour of new, organic forms that emphazized humanity's connection to nature. It represented the beginning of modernism in design.
Art Nouveau embraced all forms of art and design which was a sharp contrast to the traditional separation of art into the distinct categories of fine arts and applied arts. It features naturalistic but stylized forms, often combined with more geometric shapes, particularyly arcs, parabolas, and semicircles like the Eiffel Tower.
The movement brought in natural forms that had often been overlooked like insects, mythical fairies as evidenced by Lalique jewelry.
The Art Deco was essentially an ecletic style that emphasised modernity. The term was derived from the title of a major Paris design exhibition held in 1925 called Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts.
The Art Deco prevaled from the 1920s until the start of World War II. The deprication of the Great War gave way to a whole new opulence and extravagance that defined the Art Deco aesthetic.
It was the fusion of history and modernity that gave Art Deco its unique character. Art Deco influenced the design of many architecture buildings such as the Chrysler, Daily News, and Empire State buildings. It was characterized by sleek, streamlined forms, geometric patterns, and experiments with industrial materials such as metals, plastics, and glass.