Art Essay: Bioshock and the Art Deco art movement

Today Tony set the Essay task for reviewing the art styles used in games. The recommended starting place was Bioshock. Bioshock’s architecture and décor is very reflective of the art deco movement from the 1920’s/30’s, and the underwater city of Rapture is heavily influenced by this style.

The city architecture of Rapture is similar to stereotypical depictions of tightly packed cities. Around the 1920’s, when art deco was becoming popular, architecture had changed and become more geometric. Skyscrapers became popular choices, over more traditional buildings. Rapture is an underwater city, and the buildings are all blocky and tightly packed together. Any of the scenery outside of Rapture is all underwater, so looking out of the windows shows you the blocks of buildings and skyscrapers with a watery haze over it.

The interior design in Bioshock is much more reflective of the art deco movement. The impressive sculptures and statues inside the big main rooms are very art deco in style and look. For example, there is one specific bronze statue in Bioshock 2 that is a lady with one arm stretched towards the sky, and the other towards the ground. She wears a long dress and a cloche-style hat, which is reflective of 1920’s fashion at it’s finest. This statue is placed behind a water fountain, and is surrounded by gold-plated, finely decorated pillars, that are covered in vines. The art deco movement brought lots of similar looking statues and ornaments, made of bronze that reflect posing or dancing women. One that sticks out to me personally is the Diana statues that depict Diana the Huntress, because they look graceful and elegant, and they are one of the first things that I associate with the art deco movement.

The furniture scattered throughout Rapture is also very inspired by 20’s interior design and the art deco movement.



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