I am just going to say it: I LOVE art deco. Things like the Chrysler Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles are all shining examples of art deco. Actually, when I think about it, Los Angeles is really chock full of art deco; ranging from grand buildings such as the Beverly Hills City Hall to the more mundane everyday utilitarian things like Department of Water and Power buildings and apartments.
Honestly, it is not all that surprising that you would find so much of this style in Los Angeles; this style was coming into vogue around the same time that Hollywood was taking off and drawing people to California in droves. Art deco is influenced by many different styles, but it is based on geometric shapes. At the time, archaeological interest was sweeping the world with the discovery of Pompeii and the tomb of King Tut, all while a new world full of marvels like cruise liner ships, planes and skyscrapers were becoming a reality. Designers had lots of inspiration and incorporated them into the design elements over the years.
One thing that art deco definitely represented was lavish luxury. Following WWI, people were looking to get out of the heavy, repressed austerity that they had lived with. Perhaps F. Scott Fitzgerald described it best when he commented that the design was developed by ‘all the nervous energy stored up and expended in the War’. Well, God bless ‘em for it! I don’t really know what I would do without the cool, streamlined look that permeated not just architecture, but also media design, jewelry and furniture.
And while you might associate art deco with France, much of Western Europe and the USA, it actually can be found all over the world. The Philipines had an extensive amount of art deco buildings before it was bombed in WWII and even here in Lima, Peru you can find examples of it.
Unfortunately, as it is with everything, the design fell out of favor; by the start of the Second World War with new austerities being imposed, art deco all but disappeared. Over the decades the design made a few comebacks, but it is a relic of a bygone era of design: When craftsmanship and pride in the details were the hallmarks of building. Fortunately, there are those who still marvel in the glamor that art deco is and resurrect modern homages to it.
One such example is the new 45 Park Lane Hotel in London, designed by architect Thierry Despont . Architectural Digest had a great photo spread of this new hotel on their website, and the photos are spectacular. I am not one to spend a lot of money on a hotel (since the primary purpose is just sleeping and I prefer to spend money on something more meaningful), but I could so see myself making a holiday to London just to spend time in this hotel. I am sure the prices are a bit rich, but one or two nights and dinner would be worth it, right? Right?!
I love the wood finish on the bar and the red leather furniture in the bar and library, which you will see when you click here to see all the pictures on Architectural Digest‘s website.
Oh, and for those that have an art deco aficionado in their life, this might make a great gift!