The Swiss furniture brand Sygnard combines old design with new technology – and makes the eclectic Art Deco style of the early 20th century fit for today. With furniture that brings opulence and precision into perfect balance.

Sygnard’s furniture takes its sculptural forms from the Art Deco era and reworks them for today in sumptuous lacquered woods and marble, demonstrated here in the Odeon armchair and Empire commode

Sygnard's Art Deco update for the 21st century | News

Sygnard’s furniture takes its sculptural forms from the Art Deco era and reworks them for today in sumptuous lacquered woods and marble, demonstrated here in the Odeon armchair and Empire commode

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Through the course of the 20th century, notions of noble and elegant design were transformed by the modernist movement, which took us from stripped down Bauhausian geometry to the pattern-infused geometry of Memphis. The 21st century design elite has largely drawn on this European and American mid-century heritage when shaping contemporary interiors. But there are signs that design eyes are casting their gaze back further now, to a time pre-dating modernism.

Art Deco was the style that straddled the early 20th century era of refined ornamentation and an emerging architectural purism in the late 1920s. Its opulent woods, shaped with symmetry, alongside sweeping curves, stepped lines, mirror details, and sun and fan motifs were all intended to communicate a spirit of of positivity and playfulness. Could it be time for its return?

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The Odeon sofa is a statement piece with a strong, nostalgic silhouette, crafted from Macassar ebony, Zebrano, or Amara wood and velvet. It is teamed here with the stepped Epic coffee table

Sygnard's Art Deco update for the 21st century | News

The Odeon sofa is a statement piece with a strong, nostalgic silhouette, crafted from Macassar ebony, Zebrano, or Amara wood and velvet. It is teamed here with the stepped Epic coffee table

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Art Deco for all ages

For Hungarian-born Béla Balázsi, founder of Swiss-based furniture brand Sygnard, the movement is always ripe for revival. “Art Deco has become a symbol of luxury and elegance and an important milestone in the history of design,” he enthuses. “It has already happened, it has already evolved, it has crystallised, it has proven its ability to relate to contemporary culture. To think it further is an exciting and noble task.” Balázsi, who opened Sygnard’s doors in Zurich two years ago, is working closely with a creative team to shape furniture collections directly inspired by the nuances of Art Deco design, but adapted and updated for a contemporary audience.

There is certainly an appetite currently in interiors circles for curves, geometry and glossy materials - all attributes of the style. Some of the iconic Deco buildings that rose nearly 100 years ago are now undergoing transformations and raising the profile of Deco - the Chrysler building in New York and Galeries Lafayette in Paris are among those recently refurbished - while classic Deco edifices such as Paris’ Piscine Molitor and Rome’s Singer Palace have been transformed into hotels, styled sympathetically with elements recalling their 1930s heyday.

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Pieces are made by skilled craftsmen who sculpt exotic woods into statement curves, combining them with tempered glass and leather, as seen in the Sax Double dining table and Flapper writing desk

Sygnard's Art Deco update for the 21st century | News

Pieces are made by skilled craftsmen who sculpt exotic woods into statement curves, combining them with tempered glass and leather, as seen in the Sax Double dining table and Flapper writing desk

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For Balázsi, pursuing Art Deco-inspired projects is personal - the trigger is childhood memories of his grandmother’s paintings and porcelain, in particular a wooden Art Deco clock, a rare treasure to have survived wartime bombing. “She gave me the clock as a gift. When I showed her the restored clock and saw her reaction, I understood that the beauty of an object contains its whole history.” Feeding his newfound interest for early 20th century art movements he visited as many art deco buildings as possible on his subsequent travels, from the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, to the Palais de la Mediterranée in Nice and the Sacré Coeur in Brussels.

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The various lacquer finishes of the geometric Eliot desk allow it to adapt to its surroundings. The Glam armchair reworks Halabala’s 1930’s forms, while the Mouve vase reinterprets Kintsugi porcelain

Sygnard's Art Deco update for the 21st century | News

The various lacquer finishes of the geometric Eliot desk allow it to adapt to its surroundings. The Glam armchair reworks Halabala’s 1930’s forms, while the Mouve vase reinterprets Kintsugi porcelain

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Evolved for the 21st Century

Alongside its aesthetics, Balázsi also admires the technical advances of the Art Deco movement, and places importance himself on style evolution. His inspirations are always run through a 21st century filter in order to ready them for today’s high-end homes, hospitality destinations and public buildings. “The design is old, the technology is new,” he says. “We still make our furniture by hand, but new technologies can make them more long-lasting.” Studying classics from the 1930s, such as the Halabala armchairs, Sygnard rethinks them for today. This particular iconic design has become the Poirot Lounge Armchair in Syngard’s hands. “One of my favourite pieces is the Odeon double armchair. It truly reflects how to create an old-styled piece of furniture with a modern twist,” says Balázsi. It exudes a totally clean design and symmetry, and uses a really special wood. And, of course, comfort. It's ergonomically designed, and simply great to sit in. When it comes to work, the armrest with my laptop is a perfect office.”

Sygnard’s sculptures are made in Herend, Hungary, known for its highly-sought fine porcelain. The faceted horse embodies the Art Deco spirit, and is available in a 24 carat gold or Platina finish

Sygnard's Art Deco update for the 21st century | News

Sygnard’s sculptures are made in Herend, Hungary, known for its highly-sought fine porcelain. The faceted horse embodies the Art Deco spirit, and is available in a 24 carat gold or Platina finish

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Refinement in the detail

Refined and precious materials characterised Art Deco pieces, and this detail is proving paramount to the 21st century renditions too- albeit through the lens of sustainable sourcing. Sygnard employs renewable exotic woods from Indonesia, such as richly veined ebony; textiles sourced from England and Spain; leathers from Italy; and handles that are made in a small artisan workshop in Romania. The quality of materials and workmanship extends also to the porcelain collection. Each piece is unique and produced in small batches using traditional methods and high levels of expertise.

New Deco designs are augmenting the offering to interior professionals. Best blended with other styles to avoid the full Gatsby effect they bring a touch of opulence to 21st century restraint.

© Architonic

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