Design Terminology – part 1

Many of my friends with more than a passing interest in design struggle with the language and terminology used by the industry.  So here is the first of a set of blogs over the coming weeks/months wherein I set out to provide an explanation of some of the more common terms and phrases:

Art Deco:  Extremely popular in the 1920/30s; Art deco's linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the flowing asymmetrical curves of its predecessor style art nouveau.  Patterns with geometric shapes, mirrored accents, sophisticated lines, chrome hardware and glass tops.

Arts and Crafts: It was led by the artist and writer William Morris and the architect Charles Voysey during the 1860s. Highlights simple shapes, sparse ornamentation, and craftsmanship featuring exposed joinery and strong lines.  Natural colours, wood patterns and stone teamed with simple lines. It advocated economic and social reform and was said to be anti-industrial.

Art Nouveau:  Developed in France between 1890 and 1910, the furnishings and accessories include flowing lines and free-form shapes inspired by nature and the female form. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment. Art Nouveau was also a style of distinct individuals such as Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, René Lalique and so on.

Asian:  Bamboo and natural colours are used in Japanese interiors to create a serene, calm environment. Shoji screens, floor mats and rice-paper lanterns are used as decor items. Chinese interiors highlight furnishings with hand-painted designs on lacquered finishes, brightly coloured accessories and ornaments or statues of animals or mythical creatures.

Picture via JanSchreiner and HGTV