DSDN171 | Project 4: Trademe hunting
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 @ 09:13
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I have always been interested in the Art Deco style, its streamline abstracted design relates closely to my design approach. A search of the words "Art Deco" in Trademe resulted in almost 10,000 hits, and that was in the Antiques and Collectibles section alone. This makes one question the accuracy of the sellers' claims. Is it truly Art Deco, or merely a means to trick unsuspecting buyers into paying more than they should?

This 'Art Deco Wooden Cigarette Box' caught my attention, mainly because it did not resemble the idea of Art Deco I have in mind. Firstly, while it does have instances of smooth round corners, the box in a whole felt heavy and angular. This differs to what one would expect from an Art Deco design, which focuses on the idea of velocity, with fluid shapes to represent motion and speed.

Secondly, at first glace, the pattern spanning across the lid of the box seems to run in line with the abstract theme present in Art Deco. However, the style of abstraction reminds me more of the Design Reform era and Owen Jones' words came to mind: “..natural objects should not be used as ornaments, but conventional representations founded upon them sufficiently suggestive to convey the intended image to the mind..” The abstracted flattened pattern suggests an influence from the design reform era, even more when we look at the warm colour palette which suggest an Arabic influence in which Jones himself derived much of his inspiration with abstraction.

Lastly, the exposed wood material is different from what one would expect from the Art Deco era where chrome and shiny reflective surfaces were most prevalent. Throughout the interior and exterior of the box, the wood is never covered. In this case, truthfulness to the material used is in line with the ideals of the Arts and Craft movement.

Personally, I would disagree with the seller and consider the box of be of the Design Reform era instead.


Jones, O. (1856). Grammar of Ornament. Retrived from http://schoolofdesign.ac.nz/pluginfile.php/8443/mod_resource/content/2/wk_4_Design%20Reform_Ruskin.pdf

Ruskin, J. (1853). The Nature of Gothic. Retrived from http://schoolofdesign.ac.nz/pluginfile.php/8443/mod_resource/content/2/wk_4_Design%20Reform_Ruskin.pdf


[Art Deco Wooden Cigarette Box]. (2013). Retrived May 14, 2013, from



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