Art Nouveau, the Ornate Architectural Style that Defined the Early 20th Century

What's the difference between Art Nouveau and Art Deco?

And let’s not forget Art Deco. Often confused with Art Nouveau, the two types of architecture are certainly not interchangeable. In fact, Art Deco style emerged in the years between the World Wars. One of the first true, worldwide styles, examples can be found from New York to New Zealand.

Art Deco architecture is more streamlined than its predecessor, but with bold, geometric shapes. Think The Great Gatsby. The great skyscrapers in New York from the 1930s are all examples of Art Deco. Making use of chrome plating and stainless steel, the facades were free of the elaborate ornamentation that defined the Art Nouveau. The style, which flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, also incorporated design elements from Egyptian, Asian and Pre-Columbian architecture.

Curious about Art Deco architecture? Try Art Deco Architecture: Design, Decoration and Detail from the Twenties and Thirties by Patricia Bayer.

These examples of Art Deco architecture demonstrate how it was a truly international style.

Chrysler Building - Art Deco architecture

Chrysler Building. New York City, New York. 1930. (Photo: Drop of Light / Shutterstock)

Fairmont Peace Hotel - Shanghai - Art Deco Architecture

Fairmont Peace Hotel. Shanghai, China. 1956. (Photo: GuoZhongHua / Shutterstock)

Eden Theater, Lisbon - Art Deco Architecture

Eden Theater. Lisbon, Portugal. 1931. (Photo: StockPhotosArt / Shutterstock

Colony Hotel, Miami Beach, Art Deco Architecture

Colony Hotel. Miami, Florida. 1935. (Photo: travelview / Shutterstock)

Napier Tabacco Building - Art Deco Architecture

National Tobacco Company. Napier, New Zealand. 1933. (Photo: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock)

Related Articles:

Architecture 101: 10 Architectural Styles That Define Western Society

First House Ever Designed by Gaudí to Open as a Museum in Barcelona

Booming Tile Shop Handcrafts Every Ceramic Tile as an Individual Work of Art

Massive Art Nouveau-Inspired Mural in Montreal

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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