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Art Deco Festival In Napier, New Zealand

The Art Deco period was from 1925 until 1939. It as an art design used in buildings and interior design but also influenced things like fashion, paintings and film.

One of the most asked questions is why is it called ?Art Deco?. It wasn?t called Art Deco in the 1920?s and 1930?s. The term came from the title of an exposition in Paris called ?Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes?. The exhibition was in 1925 but it wasn?t until art historian Bevis Hillier published a book in 1968 called ?Art Deco of the 20s and 30s? that the term became widely used.

Art Deco is primarily based on mathematical geometric shapes. This lead to elegant designs that were very streamlined. It was a unique style for the period and popular for a very short time. The materials used to achieve this effect were things like aluminium, stainless steel and inlaid wood. These were used to create stepped forms and sweeping curves. Two of the most popular patterns were the ?chevron? and ?sunburst motif?.

Art Deco became unpopular in the 1940?s because it was regarded as gaudy and was linked to luxury. It has had a revival since the 1980?s. This was when graphic design was starting and art deco, because of its mathematical geometric shapes, was easy to create using computers.

Napier, which is found in the Hawke?s Bay of New Zealand, has a stunning collection of Art Deco buildings. Every year thousands of people go to Napier in February to celebrate its Art Deco heritage and history.

Napier is a port city with a population of about 58,000. It is often linked to Hastings City and thus called Napier-Hastings. Napier was named after Sir Charles Napier who was a Commander-in-Chief in India was thought of as a hero after the Battle of Meeanee in the Indian province of Sindh. There is even a suburb of Napier named Meeanee after this battle.

On 3 February 1931 Napier was hit by an earthquake that flattened the town. There were 258 people killed either by buildings collapsing by fires that broke out because of the earthquake. The town centre was then rebuilt using the Art Deco style which was popular during this period of time. Interestingly Napier became larger because of the earthquake. The earthquake raised 40km2 of land.

Although some of the buildings have now been replaced, most of the buildings remain and have become recognized as unique. From the 1990?s the buildings have been protected and restored to their former glory.

Napier is now regarded as one of the best preserved Art Deco towns, along with Miami Beach. In 2007 Napier was the first cultural site in New Zealand to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Other fine examples around the world of Art Deco art and architecture are Havana, Cuba and Rio de Janeiro and Valencia, Spain.