The International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS) is dedicated to fostering worldwide cooperation and support to preserve, celebrate and educate the public in the appreciation of Art Deco architecture, design and culture of the 1920s and 30s.
ICADS Societies promote the understanding, appreciation and preservation of Art Deco in their own regions through a variety of educational, preservation and social activities and collaborate to raise awareness and support for endangered Art Deco architecture and design around the world.
Radio City Music Hall Lobby, New York City, United States. Photo: Art Deco Society of New York
ICADS was founded in 1991, the culmination of the vision of Barbara Baer Capitman, a seminal figure and early advocate for the recognition and preservation of Art Deco architecture and design.
In 1976, Capitman led the movement to save long neglected Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach from imminent demolition. Recognizing that Art Deco buildings from the 1920s and 30s around the world were under similar threat, and after her success in generating support for preservation of Miami’s historic South Beach Art Deco district, she traveled the country raising awareness and inspiring preservationists and Deco enthusiasts everywhere to create their own Art Deco Societies.
In 1989, a year before her death, Barbara created the concept for the World Congress on Art Deco. In January 1991 the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) hosted the first World Congress on Art Deco. The following year MDPL hosted a meeting of presidents of Art Deco Societies throughout the United States. Out of this initiative, the National Coalition of Art Deco Societies (NCADS) was born.
Soon after, the name was changed to the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS) in recognition of the growth of Art Deco Societies around the world.
Cardozo Hotel, Miami Beach, United States. Photo: Miami Design Preservation League
ICADS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MORE ABOUT THE ART DECO STYLE
WHAT IS ART DECO?
Art Deco is a style of design that first appeared in Europe and flourished internationally between the two World Wars. It is often characterized by bold, streamlined, geometric shapes, rich colors, and stylized ornamentation. In addition to synthesizing characteristics from a number of other artistic movements, the style combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. Art Deco emerged as rapid industrialization transformed culture around the world and its design aesthetic touched everything: architecture, furniture, interiors, graphic design, clothing, and many products like automobiles, airplanes and household objects and appliances.
Great examples of Art Deco can be found everywhere. While the style took an early foothold in Europe after World War I, great centers of Art Deco design can also be found in North America, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. While there are just as many common design themes that tie all Art Deco together to make it truly international, designers applied unique interpretations in response to local cultures, climates, and economic conditions. This is what makes Art Deco fun to find and explore around the world.
Grand Rex Movie Theater, Paris, France. Photo: Paris Art Deco Society
ART DECO'S ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION
Art Deco draws from several avant-garde artistic movements including Cubism, Viennese Secessionism, the Bauhaus and Constructivism. Interestingly, the term “Art Deco” was never used to describe the style during the 1920s and 30s, but rather was coined in the 1960s to retroactively describe modern design of the period. “Art Deco” takes its name from the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, with participants exhibiting modern design from several countries. The 1925 Paris Exposition wasn’t the only international-level event to help promote Art Deco design, and additional fairs took place around the world throughout the next fifteen years, including those in Chicago (1933-34), Tel Aviv (1934), Brussels (1935), Paris (1937), San Francisco (1939) and New York (1939). These expositions drew visitors, designers and merchandisers from everywhere. Additionally, films and magazines grew in circulation during this time. These important communication tools combined to further the style’s reach around the world.
The Art Deco period covers over two decades, so it is only natural that the style evolved quite a bit over that time. As the style emerged in Europe after World War I, it flourished with a need to rebuild as well as with the post-war economic exuberance of the 1920s. These early examples are typically highly ornamented. As the style evolves in the 1930s, the ornament is selectively pared down and design is streamlined, expressing movement, speed, and efficiency. This simplification was brought on somewhat by necessity with the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression that gripped much of the world.
Art Deco is closely linked to a new profession that emerged in the early twentieth century: Industrial Design. The industrial revolution led to mass production of consumer goods, and while increased efficiencies introduced through machine production lowered prices, little attention was paid to aesthetics. The artistic community responded, promoting the idea that art should be applied to the design of everyday objects. Additionally, manufacturers found it necessary to embrace good design as a way of distinguishing their products in increasingly competitive markets. One-of-a-kind, hand-crafted items were replaced by mass-produced, machine-made goods. Industrial designers became key figures in this evolution, developing approachable and visually appealing designs that celebrated elegance and ease of use.
The breadth and variety of Art Deco is exemplified with myriad other names one may encounter when exploring the style, including High Deco, Zig Zag Modern, and Moderne, to name just a few. The evolution is also not perfectly linear or pure, and there are plenty of examples that blend and overlap highly ornamental motifs with streamlined sensibilities to be discovered.
Some of our Member Societies have developed their own writings and good lists of resources to help you explore and learn more about the Art Deco style. Visit our Membership page to find links to Art Deco Society web sites from around the world.
Department of Justice Building, Washington DC, United States. Photo: Art Deco Society of Washington DC