July 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

Is Art Deco interior design roaring back into style?

3 min read

When Athena Calderone walked into her TriBeCa apartment–once owned by Thierry Despont—for the first time, “there was something about it that screamed Art Deco,” she says.

She was familiar with the movement’s design principles: geometric, almost-Egyptian-inspired shapes; rich materials and colors; repeated forms. Yet, she wanted to know more. So, on a trip to Paris, she immersed herself in the buildings and rooms that defined the period: the galleries at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Galeries Lafayette, and Auguste Perret’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, to name just a few.

And when she returned to New York—and her apartment—Calderone decided to explore a modern interpretation of the early 20th style. “There’s a restraint that was happening in Art Deco—there was a sumptuous quality to the material, but it also had this quiet restraint,” she says. “So I would say throughout the entire apartment, I’ll be kind of playing with that level of restraint and elegant materiality.”

“There’s a restraint that was happening in Art Deco—there was a sumptuous quality to the material, but it also had this quiet restraint,” Calderone says.

William Jess Laird

It starts with her floors. This month, she released a “Salon” collection with Beni Rugs that takes baseline cues from Art Deco, as well as the Vienna Secession movement. (Josef Hoffman, an architect who worked in both styles, was a noted influence.) Throughout the design process, she toyed with the more muted jewel tones of ice blue, silver, and oxblood, as well as repetitive geometric forms, and eventually photographed it all at the Perret’s former penthouse in the 16th arrondissement.

Calderone is an interior tastemaker if there ever was one: her moody yet minimalist Cobble Hill townhouse became one of the most Instagrammed homes of a generation: not only did an article in Architectural Digest go viral, but Calderone herself amassed over a million followers. A book, “Live Beautiful,” followed. When she decided to move, it was covered by the New York Times.

So it’s likely that Calderone’s fresh take on Art Deco will catch on too. That is, if it hasn’t already: in an article for The New York Review of Architecture in March, writer Antonio Pacheco also predicted a resurgence. “Art Deco has bubbled up all over the place recently. It’s the backdrop for period dramas (Perry Mason; Oppenheimer); it’s the subject of museum exhibitions (The Met has two 1920s/30s themed exhibits this year alone); it fuels new creative endeavors (see Justin Peck’s Copland Dance Episodes),” he wrote. Meanwhile, Pierce & Ward recently created an Art Deco-inspired collection for Modern Matter. And this spring, Sotheby’s will be staging on “The World of Tamara: A Celebration of Lempicka and Art Deco,” an exhibition and sale of the defining Art Deco artist. (She’s been getting a lot of attention lately: currently on Broadway is Lempicka: The Musical, while a retrospective of her work will open at the San Francisco’s de Young Museum this fall.)

Then there’s just a general vibe shift to take into account. Whereas post-pandemic interiors have largely focused on minimalist beige interiors and soft curvy furniture—a response to the stress of the world around us—almost five years later, some of its signature hallmarks are falling by the wayside, according to many of the tastemakers and experts interviewed for Vogue’s annual interior design trends story. Just like the ’20s, perhaps, Art Deco is ready for a “roaring” comeback.

This story was originally published on Vogue.com.


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