Thursday, 2 February 2012
Themed Chess Sets: The Art Deco Style
If you asked me to choose from the themed chess sets available, I would have no hesitation in deciding which carved chess set I would love to own. For me, the best chess set would be Art Deco themed.
Why Art Deco? Well, I spent a year working in Brussels. There I was able to feast on some amazing examples of the style. I didn’t have a car and spent a lot of time walking around this lovely compact city with amazing examples of two styles of architecture, namely Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
Brussels is known particularly for its stunning examples of Art Nouveau. However, the First World War changed people’s approach to their buildings. A new and eclectic style began in Paris in the 1920s and spread widely. Art Deco was born. This new style drew on a variety of influences. Very mathematical in its style, it included zigzags and geometric shapes and the result was a cleaner and more angular style of building. However, Art Deco also drew on art and design from many ancient civilisations such as those in Egypt, Mexico and Africa. The reason for this is ascribed to the great interest in archeology in the 1920s, for example the tomb of Tutankhamun and Pompeii.
Wandering around the area of Brussels that I lived in – Ixelles – it is possible to see some of wonderful examples of twentieth century architecture, from Art Nouveau, to Art Deco and then onto Modernism. This is true in particular of the area around the Ixelles Ponds.
For me, my stay in this city was a very happy time. Being able to admire an Art Deco carved chess set in my home would bring back the best of memories.
I visited New York a few years ago and was excited to see the Art Deco spire of the Chrysler building and, of course, the Empire State Building. Also, in New York, the Rockefeller Centre has 14 original Art Deco buildings amongst its total of 19 buildings. It is not just in New York, but also in others of its large cities that the United States boasts excellent specimens of the style.
Closer to home, there are some splendid examples of Art Deco architecture in the UK. In the seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, the mayor, Earl De La Warr held a competition for the design of a new leisure complex for the town. The winning design was built between 1934 and 1935. Named after the mayor, the De La Warr Pavilion is a stunning example of Art Deco architecture.
My focus on architecture could be misleading. The Art Deco style influenced all areas of design, including interior design. In South East London, you can visit Eltham Palace. Originally a medieval palace, the site provides a treasure in the form of an important private house built by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in the 1930s. The interior design is a feast of Art Deco. Even if you have never visited Eltham Palace, you may well have seen the interior as many films and television programmes have been filmed there.
You will also see the influence of Art Deco style in the jewellery and fashion of the period. It also affected the arts and industrial design.
If I have tempted you, why not look at the chess sets for sale at ChessSetHeaven.com and get yourself an Art Deco carved chess set.