Relevant categories: Art Deco
(Above photo - Art Deco Desk and Chair Set Roll Top Bureau 1920s Vintage )
The 1930s is a time when the world was transiting from the vibrant 1920s to the Great Depression when people’s lives became unbearable. At that time, technological advances led to the wide adoption of mass production and the growth of industries. Therefore, people could get household goods at an affordable cost than in previous periods when everything was handmade. For the first time, even humble families could afford to buy objects featuring the latest style.
(Above photo - Art Deco Drinks Cabinet Walnut Vintage 1930s )
Therefore, 1930s furniture reflects the design trends that started in the 1920s. It also reflects the industrial age, when the mass-production of all kinds of objects was the in-thing. The cost of production of furniture at that time was meager. Furniture makers used veneers or layers of exotic hardwoods to decorate all types of pieces of furniture. Thus, the wood under the surface would be of much lesser quality than the visible stunning tiger maple or beautiful mahogany. Therefore, furniture pieces cost less to make than those featuring solid hardwood.
The following are the prominent period 1930s furniture styles:
(Above photo - Art Deco Drinks Cabinet Chinoiserie Vintage Cocktail 1930 )
Having emerged in the 1920s, Art Deco was the most popular furniture style of the early 1930s. Art Deco first appeared on the scene in France in 1925 and quickly spread to the rest of the world. It became popular because of how it revolutionized furniture making, architecture, and art. Art Deco furniture had elaborate veneers of Macassar ebony and mahogany, combined with cheaper woods to produce beautiful furniture pieces. In most cases, the furniture had curving lines and sleek surfaces.
The main emphasis of Art Deco was vertical lines and geometric shapes, with the most common designs being chevrons, sunbursts, zigzags, and other repeated. However, some furniture pieces had scarab beetles and lotus flowers, echoes from Egyptian influence. Upholstered furniture from the Art Deco period had wide scrolled or mesa-flat arms, symmetrical tufting, deluxe fabrics like leather or velvet. The Art Deco palette featured bold primary colors like red, white, silver, black, and gold.
(Above photo - Art Deco Display Cabinet - Vintage 1930s Bookcase )
From about 1935, a new furniture style emerged in the United States. It goes by several names, including Streamline Moderne, Modern, or Streamlined. Unlike Art Deco, whose production using machines was limited, Streamline Moderne was 100 percent industrially produced. The style utilized modest, utilitarian features akin to those of Art Deco pieces. Therefore, in a way, Streamline Moderne was an Art Deco sub-movement that emphasized minimalist geometrical symmetry and tubular designs, molded plywood, and other natural materials. The significant developments in transport majorly influenced Streamline Moderne furniture pieces with features such as airplanes, automobiles, trains, ships, etc.
(Above photo - Period 1930s art deco dining table )
Period 1930s furniture have heavy lines, graphic symmetry, and repeated patterns on upholstery prints and decorative elements like table legs and drawer pull. The motifs usually have natural elements with somewhat unnatural preciseness, like perfectly symmetrical sunbursts. Therefore, it could be challenging to differentiate between Art Deco and Streamline Moderne, especially regarding the subtle features. By looking for features like ships, trains, and automobiles, you can tell one from another.
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