William van Alen, 1928-30
Elevator door, Chrystler Building
Opulent decoration, simple lines and layered geometric shapes, Egyptian art, Cubism, dancing nymphs, Neoclassicism and machine aesthetics. The style now popularly known as Art Deco in America can more accurately be described as an amalgam of various styles, expressions, and design elements from the 1920s and 30s. It derives its name from the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925, and "high" Art Deco remains associated with a distinct location (Paris) and social class (wealthy). American Art Deco spread and diffused the most durable design elements of the Parisian style, most notably the fan, the chevron, and the ziggurat into new materialssuch as cork, linoleum, metal, and Vitrolite (baked enamel)and through new methods of mechanical production. The style moved not only into the homes of individuals of varying social classeswith objects ranging from furniture, tea kettles, and perfume atomizers, to advertisementsbut from interior, private spaces to public exteriors as well.