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3 Ways to Bring Home Chinese Art Deco Design

During the Art Deco era (from the 1920s through the 40s) Shanghai was the essence of a global city. It was one of those golden ages, when art and culture converged in a place teeming with new life. Even today, signature Shanghai style feels fresh. Clean lines, rich palettes and lasting materials like marble and rosewood are timeless, yet feel completely current. Here are three ways to bring home a bit of Chinese Art Deco’s rich, streamlined simplicity.

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1. Use Deco design to ground an eclectic collection.

Chinese Deco furniture is highly sought after by those who appreciate this niche moment in Asian history. Influenced by international styles, Chinese furniture makers used their joinery skills to emulate Art Deco’s geometry and curves. The result is a unique harmony between simplicity and complexity, and it’s the perfect foundation for an eclectic collection. Upholstered in a Holly Hunt wool blend boucle fabric, these Deco chairs are subtle enough to offset the surrounding mix of antique and contemporary objects, but strong enough to bring a sense of balance to the room.

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2. Make it minimal.

If you want to keep things as simple as possible but don’t want a room to feel cold or unconsidered, Chinese Art Deco is the answer. Warm natural materials like rosewood and marble bring depth to streamlined designs, and a neutral palette makes it easy to layer in texture. Sheepskins, Mongolian cushions, rich ceramics and contemporary artwork all feel at home with Chinese Art Deco furniture.

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3. Accessorize with Art Deco.

Chinese objects from this period have a singular sense of history. When these unique jars were made in the 1920s, the world was enrapt with Art Deco’s combination of many different motifs, including exotic styles from ancient Egypt, India, and especially China. These jars arose from that movement, but also have ancient origins — the elegant, baluster form is many centuries old.

Likewise, Art Deco advertising posters from the 1930s meld the meticulous detail of traditional Chinese painting with the craft of 20th century color lithography. Fashionable woman of recent yet bygone history influenced the Art Deco movement, and their depiction in traditional Chinese gardens hearkens back to a timeless pictorial language. Chinese Art Deco offers a particular window into the past, and it also serves as a bridge into our current moment of design, when ancient and modern styles often meet.

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