rt deco emerged from the 1925 Paris exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes and quickly crossed the Atlantic and swept design circles across the United States. The movement fit easily with the sleek and sophisticated "jazz age" visions of F. Scott Fitzgerald and broadway designer Norman Bel Geddes.

Deco illustrated a bold marriage of slip-stream style, industrial optimism, geometric design, and primitive motifs. Icons of the movement include chevrons, ziggurat steps, stylized flora and fauna - and a love of neon. To learn more, take a look at my dictionary of deco imagery. The ideology of Deco was simple: progress and modernism can remake the world, replacing the wilds of nature with the elegance of civilization. During the inter-war years, deco split into decorative and streamlined schools - the former generally associated with the high flying 20s; the latter emerging in the austere years of the 1930s. While high-style structures like the New York Chrysler building, Hoover Dam, and the gorgeous Cincinnati Union Terminal represent the apex of Deco for some devotees, the curved and block glass diners, bus depots, factories, and auto courts of the streamlined school also shaped public life for generations of Americans.

Deco - the creation of architects, industrial designers, Broadway directors, and product packaging experts - offered a tantalizing glimpse of the future. For Americans, that future took root in far flung cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and in smaller towns dotting the coast of California. Some say that the eternally unfolding capital of tomorrow is found in Los Angeles, but I think there's plenty of Deco delight in the South [San Francisco] Bay region to merit a small web site. I hope you agree!

All text (except that otherwise attributed) and images copyright 2000-2002 Andrew Wood.