Art deco

The international Art Deco movement flourished in the decorative arts and architecture between around 1915 and 1939. It laid great emphasis on the decorative use of geometrical shapes and luxurious materials like exotic timbers, enamel, gold and lacquer. In the Netherlands, its influence was reflected chiefly in the interior designs of Amsterdam School architects.

However, the influence of new design philosophies outside the Netherlands (including Bauhaus) led to a growing feeling that it was not so much decoration as the basic form of objects that made them aesthetically pleasing. Everyday objects should, above all, be functional; then they would automatically be visually attractive. Designers who felt this way also aimed to achieve more affordable, serially produced objects. This belief in functionalism was far from universal among Dutch designers but it was highly influential and many of them turned to designing plainer and less luxurious products, partly because of the economic depression that followed the financial crisis of 1929.

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