The Art Deco Fireplace

One school of thought would suggest that the resurrection and restoration of South Beach in Florida, as a cultural and tourist destination, has contributed mightily to the public appreciation of Art Deco as both an expression of style and a design movement. On the other hand, some friends of mine would cry “foul” and simply point to the Chrysler Building, Radio City Music Hall and the Empire State Building; then indicate that Art Deco is far more significant than just a few restored buildings in Florida. Naturally, the Art Deco Fireplace has a place in this mix.

via WikiCommons

Some of my earliest memories as a young man are of being taken to the Chrysler, Radio City and the Empire State and wondering why my house in suburbia did not look that way. As a grown man, in 1981 I recall vividly sitting at the Avalon Hotel on South Beach and staring at the ocean over drinks. So, for me, it’s all good as the young people say. Let’s dive into our blog topic for today which is the fireplace piece in the Art Deco movement.

As historical background, the “Art Deco style”, began in Paris in the 1920’s and remained influential virtually to the onset of World War II. Perhaps most remarkable, was the effect the style had across many different facets of life. Its influence was felt not only in architecture and interior design, but also in industrial design, jewelry, graphic arts, and fashion. Seriously now, what is cooler than the Bugatti below?


If you need further design inspiration, take a look at this Toastmaster ad, for period presence and utility in design.

via WikiCommons

Again, let’s get back to fireplaces. As a matter of design fact, an Art Deco fireplace shifted significantly in form from the pieces of the previous Art Nouveau period. Quite often, Art Nouveau was presented in curvilinear expression, while Art Deco exhibited more linear and occasionally cylindrical symmetry. Take a peak at an Art Deco Fireplace design from Atlanta artist  Jean Alexander.

via Jean Alexander

The black & white marble combination, working with the simple form of the element, allows you to envision this piece in a Paris hotel nook circa 1929. Please also notice the proportion and contrast of the white marble keystone with the white vein in the black marble.

It is true that we are not able to design an Art Deco toaster for our clients. However, we can absolutely help you in “imagineering” a period specific Art Deco fireplace. Text me at 305.986.1046. Thanks for reading!

****the image at the top of this post is Niagara Hudson (Mohawk) Building in Syracuse, NY. Photographed by David Bridges.

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