This is a 1930’s Art Deco portable industrial space heater found in an old school.
Its style is said to have represented the cultural politics of its time, with eclecticism having been one of its defining feature. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the distinctive style of Art Deco was developed by all the nervous energy stored up and expended in the War. Art Deco has been influenced partly by styles such as Cubism, Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism, which are all evident in this decorative space heater.
To understand a bit more about Art Deco significance in Asia, for much of the world, the Great Depression of the 1930s brought misery: failed banks, hunger and joblessness. But for Shanghai, the decade was a golden age of prosperity that fostered artistic and cultural experimentation. The melting-pot city’s surging economy fueled a building boom that transformed it into a showcase for the architectural style meant to capture the excitement, promise and glamour of the machine age: Art Deco.
Art Deco’s simplified, streamlined forms, thrusting vertical elements and geometric ornamentation captured the spirit of a rising city determined to secure its place in the modern world.