At once temporally-located and timeless, the Art Deco movement consumed many elements of interwar society: from architecture and design to fashion and jewellery. Born out of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris, Art Deco was firmly anti-traditional. The design aesthetic established a break from 19th century style and the austerity of the interwar years, demonstrating a move towards the sleek and sophisticated. Known at the time as Style Moderne, the movement is widely accepted as a visual precursor of modernism, though it also drew upon elements of Cubism and the Bauhaus. Angular structures and geometric shapes were characteristic of the style, be it in the ornamentation of the Empire State Building’s design or the furniture of Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Maurice Dufrêne. The heart of Art Deco was in the details, and the details didn’t come cheap.

"Along with satisfying a desire for change, fashion’s real purpose is to display wealth.” Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann

Ruhlmann’s furniture was extravagant to say the least. Crafted with the most expensive and rare woods, from Macassar ebony to Brazilian rosewood, they were truly statement pieces. It wasn’t uncommon for him to finish his designs with ivory embellishments: on the handles of dressers, the feet of desks and as decorative inlay. This vein of decadence ran throughout the style. Marcel Coard’s designs were similar. His 1927 Gondola sofa, in particular, married extravagance with modernity. Carved in rosewood, the chair is all curve and comfort. With a deep base, laying close to the ground, it was alike to a daybed. Like Ruhlmann’s design, the Gondola sofa was finished with a thick ivory trim, accenting the dramatic curvature of the wood. These highly polished features strewn with lavish textiles were signatures of the era.

Designers such as Eileen Gray led the way with furniture that ranged from the starkly modern to the historically-inclined. The former can be seen in her E1027 side table. A distinctly geometric design, the soft curves of the circular tabletop were at odds with the harsh perpendicular lines of the stand. It was modern in both appearance and functionality, with a delicate chain to control and adjust the height of the table. Her retrospective inspiration is most evident in her 1927 Lotus table. The hardwood piece featured lotus-shaped detail on the legs and dramatic accents: draping black cord hanging beside the legs, finished with green tassels and red beads. The colour scheme, lotus symbol and extravagant tassel detail come together to denote an ancient Egyptian motif. This melding of the old and the new was common within the Art Deco movement, with key figures looking towards past cultures and styles to inform their designs. For further examples, see here.

Ornate or nothing

Our design team source vintage pieces to add character and warmth to the spaces in our Houses. Statement pieces like double-breasted hardwood armoires and polished vanities bring a touch of Art Deco glamour to the bedrooms at The Ned.

Bathroom decor

Nothing says Art Deco like a copper plated bathtub and marble geometric flooring. Tiling is a staple of any Soho House bathroom and is a simple way to make a big impression. Integrate two-tone tiles and gilded accessories to elevate your wash space.

Luminary lighting

For dashes of Art Deco style, invest in lighting fixtures with curved, panelled glass and gold accents. Think pillared wall lights, table lamps with ceramic curves and Murano glass chandeliers.

From the ground up

A simple yet impactful way to align a space with Art Deco standards is to introduce a large rug with a bold pattern: be it geometric line work or a neoclassical design. Experiment with different textures to add depth and comfort to any space.

Soho House Amsterdam

Sitting by the Singel Canal, our member's club features a rooftop pool, a Cowshed spa and intimate club spaces.