27 Dec 2018

1930s Art Deco and Modernism

Streamline Moderne
What is Art Deco?
Do you like cantilevered simplicity or Jazz Age geometrics? Do you "ooh" every time you drive past The Hoover Factory? Do you "wow" when you see Senate House? Do you yearn to live in a house with interiors to rival Eltham Palace?
There is not just one design ideal for this period – we’ve all got a different take it beacuse "Art Deco" has become a catch-all term for the period mid20s–pre-WW2; a time of change when architects were keen to move away from the fussy embellishments of the past.
You might be surprised to learn that he term "Art Deco" was not coined until 1968 by Bevis Hillier when he referred to this period in reference to the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts that took place in Paris, 1925. But it is a bit misleading, especially in regard to architecture, as most of the buildings that carry the tag are lacking in decoration – it's all about simplicity of line with a bit of geometric ornamentation here and there. One could argue that the only style that fits the term is the Egyptian temple revival. But it also covers tiled factory façades, temples to industry, Portland stone banks, minimalist shop fronts, ocean liner office blocks and impressive department stores.

Join me on a walking tour to find out more. I have pounded the streets and discovered many unsung gems. These I have collected into a series of "Art Deco era" tours (or should we say, early 20th Century architecture tours?) and I am sure on every walk you will find something that gives you that 'wow' moment.

More Art Deco tours in other areas coming soon – Please see the schedule for more information or subscribe for updates here.

Here's a review on tripAdvisor about my Art Deco Holloway walk: