a post prepared for A Life Un-Styled
Among London’s many attractions, its Art Deco architecture is a testament to its status as a center of trade and culture in the mid-1920s to mid-1930s. Whether you are an Art Deco enthusiast or simply a tourist hoping to see the unique architecture of pre-World War II London, the city will not disappoint.
Here are five of the most iconic Art Deco buildings to discover in England’s capital.
You can begin your tour of London’s iconic Art Deco buildings with The Eltham Palace, which was once a royal residence to Stephen and Virgina Courtauld. Today, it is a carefully preserved house museum, after a complete interior renovation in the 1930s. English Heritage describes the palace as a fusion of medieval design and Art Deco. The main structure is surrounded by 19 acres of beautiful gardens that feature both 20th century and medieval elements. The dining room, designed by Peter Malacrida, features the contrasting tones and textures of the Art Deco movement with its distinctive black and silver doors. They are said to depict the animals and birds of London Zoo.
Battersea Power Station
Standing on the banks of the River Thames, the Battersea Power Station is one of the most recognizable London landmarks because of its four iconic white chimneys. Formerly a power station, the building is Europe’s largest brick building and was featured in the 1965 Beatles’ film Help! and Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals. It has Art Deco interiors featuring marble fluting and distinctive light fittings.
The Battersea Power Station is currently undergoing a major civic renewal and renovation project. By 2020, this iconic building will house luxury apartments, stores, restaurants, and fitness centers.
Nestled in Southeast London, the Granada Cinema was built in the 1930s as a huge and luxurious cinema with a seating capacity of nearly 2,500 people. Its expansive main hall, grand staircase, and hall of mirrors are notable architectural feats of early 20th century London. Bedforshire News explores the cinema’s grand history, which began with screenings of The Thin Man and The Private Lives of Oliver the Eighth. Today, the building serves as a host venue for Bingo, which is considered a part of British culture. The beloved pastime evolved over the years, and the classic 90-ball game is now even played in different formats like 75-Ball Bingo, which Foxy Bingo explains as having virtually endless winning patterns. But although the pastime is a staple social activity in the UK, it’s also popular in other countries even here in the land Down Under where it was fondly called ‘Housie’ in the past. Granada Cinema may have shifted its purpose, but its appeal as an iconic piece of Art Deco architecture remains.
Carreras Cigarette Factory
Built between 1926 and 1928 in Camden, North London, the Carreras Cigarette Factory demonstrates the influence of Egyptian culture in the Art Deco movement. This is seen from the very entrance of the building, which is guarded by two enormous black cat statues, as well as its feather details and colour palette. The Kentish Towner relayed how several design updates from major restoration works coalesced into the building’s eye-catching features today. It’s now home to a number of offices and also called the Arcadia Works and the Greater London House.
No list of the finest of London’s Art Deco architecture will be complete without Claridge’s hotel. Many of the original features of this beautiful 1920s building are still standing today, after several refurbishments and restoration work in the 1990s. Considered by many as the crown jewel of London’s Art Deco architecture, the building’s bold lines and sweeping curves, as well as the magnificent chandelier in its foyer, serves as an elegant ode to the Art Deco movement.
Although London’s overall architecture draws inspiration from a number of different art movements – brutalism and modernism chief among them – the prime examples of London’s Art Deco architecture are a marvel to behold.