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Art Deco meets Modernism

Light blue vase

Vase by Keith Murray

It is often said that Modernism was quite different from Art Deco. Many leading Modernists were architects with theories about changing the world. They liked the machine age and mass production, and were happy with products that were undecorated.

Art Deco had no theory because it was not so much one style. It raided ideas and patterns from lots of cultures past and present. Some Art Deco designs look jazzy and tribal, whilst others look sleek and machine-like. Both Modernism and Art Deco borrowed ideas from each other.

Keith Murray designed ceramics for Wedgwood which look Art Deco. He was a Modernist architect and designed Wedgwood's factory at Barlaston in Modernist style. The Poole Pottery experimented with sumptuous glazes, as did Norman Wilson at Wedgwood. Both factories combined chemistry, new technology and the unpredictable effects of the kiln to produce stunning pots.