Art Deco was a popular design style that emerged in the 1920s and had its heyday in the 1930s. Known for its bold geometric shapes, sleek lines, and luxurious materials, Art Deco style made use of a distinctive color palette. While black, white, silver, gold, and striking primary colors often featured prominently, Art Deco designers also utilized a range of green shades in their works. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the characteristic green hues associated with Art Deco style.
One of the most iconic green shades of the Art Deco era was a rich, jewel-toned emerald green. This deep green with a touch of blue was widely used in everything from architecture to fashion. Emerald green conveyed a sense of sophistication and luxury, perfect for the elegant Art Deco aesthetic. When used in interiors, emerald green made a dramatic statement. Architects and designers utilized it in accents like tiles, wall paint, and furniture upholstery. Emerald green glass and accessories also adorned Art Deco style buildings and homes.
Another green hue prevalent in Art Deco style was chartreuse. This electric, yellow-tinged green popped against neutral backgrounds. Chartreuse conveyed a vibrant, modern sensibility fitting for the forward-looking Art Deco movement. Designers utilized chartreuse in all sorts of mediums. Sleek chartreuse-colored metal fixtures and geometric patterns stood out in architectural details. Fashion designers chose chartreuse dyed textiles and accessories for a punch of color. Home decor items like vases and clocks sported the eye-catching chartreuse shade.
Forest & Olive Greens
Art Deco designers also incorporated deeper forest and olive greens into their palettes. These earthy greens lent a natural elegance to Art Deco creations. Forest and olive green hues were commonly used in home decor textiles like curtains, tablecloths, and upholstered furniture. Paint colors also included soft forest greens, especially in bathrooms and dining rooms. Dark green glassware and ceramic pieces provided an organic contrast to sleek metal and lacquered furnishings. Overall, forest and olive greens provided a grounded accent in Art Deco’s opulent designs.
Jade green was another jewel-toned green shade seen in Art Deco pieces. This cool, crisp green exuded freshness and clarity. In combination with bolder greens like emerald, jade green added subtle depth and interest. The smooth tones of jade green glassware, vases, and decorative objects suited the refined nature of Art Deco. Jade green pigments also appeared in everything from avant-garde paintings to elegant textile patterns. Together with creamy whites and blacks, jade green created a soothing yet stylish ambiance.
Green Color Combinations
Art Deco designers often combined contrasting green hues in their works. Pairing rich emerald greens with refreshing jade greens produced an invigorating, elegant effect. Deep forest greens next to chartreuse added visual dynamism. The combination of olive and emerald greens came across as luxurious and sophisticated. Art Deco designers also blended green with neutrals like white, cream, black, silver, and gold. Green accent pieces stood out against these backgrounds, creating dramatic focal points.
Many famous Art Deco works feature characteristic green shades. Some notable examples include:
- The Chrysler Building in New York City – The iconic skyscraper contains emerald green and jade exterior trim.
- The Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris – The grand Art Deco building houses emerald green mosaics and an interior pool lined with emerald tiles.
- Tamara de Lempicka’s paintings – The Art Deco artist used bold greens like chartreuse in many of her stylized portraits.
- 1934 Chrysler Airflow automobile – One model came in a two-tone green color scheme of emerald and forest greens.
- 1920s Flapper dresses – Bold emerald and chartreuse green textiles were commonly used.
- Streamline Moderne furniture – Jade and forest greens lent an elegant accent to sleek wooden furniture.
Green in Art Deco Interiors
Interior designers embraced green in all its shades to create stylish Art Deco spaces. Here are some ways green was incorporated into Art Deco interiors:
|Green Shades Used
|Walls and ceilings
|Softer greens like jade, olive, and forest green
|Dark emerald or forest green carpeting
|Emerald and jade green geometric tiles
|Deep emerald or forest green upholstery
|Chartreuse, olive, or jade green draperies
|Sleek metal in forest, jade, or chartreuse finishes
|Emerald green glass sculptures and vases
Green was an integral part of the Art Deco color scheme, allowing designers to create spaces that felt lush, opulent, and stylish. The varied shades gave rooms visual depth and interest.
Green in Art Deco Graphic Design
Graphic designers also embraced green in fresh, innovative ways. Eye-catching greens stood out in posters, advertisements, signage, and more. Some graphic design trends included:
- Bold emerald green backgrounds with white and black geometric shapes
- Thick chartreuse green stripes on signage and packaging
- Art Deco lettering in shades of olive or forest green
- Jade green borders around posters and adverts
Green color combinations created exciting visual effects. Carefully placed green shapes and lines reinforced the sleek, streamlined look of Art Deco graphics. Overall, green was an integral part of the visual vernacular of Art Deco design in all mediums.
Cultural Associations of Green in Art Deco Design
So why was green such an important shade for Art Deco designers? The prevalence of green had some cultural significance:
- Wealth and status – Green, especially deep emerald greens, represented luxury. The sumptuous color conveyed wealth and status.
- Renewal – Greens were symbolic of natural growth and renewal. This was attractive after World War I.
- Modernity – Vibrant greens exuded modernity and cutting-edge style during the machine age.
- Exoticism – Jewel-toned greens were associated with the Orient, Egypt, and other exotic locales.
Green pigments and dyes were also more readily available and affordable during this period. Combining cultural associations, visual appeal, and practical availability, green became ubiquitous in Art Deco. The range of shades allowed designers to be both elegant and edgy when using this symbolic color.
Green was an essential part of the Art Deco color scheme and ranged from deep emerald to chartreuse. Designers used varied green shades and combinations to create bold, innovative styles that felt modern yet elegant. Green represented luxury, nature, and the exotic within the sleek Art Deco aesthetic. From architecture to graphics to fashion, green helped define Art Deco visual identity and enduring appeal. When one thinks of the visual style of the 1920s and 30s, those vibrant emerald, jade, and chartreuse hues inevitably spring to mind.