The Art Deco period originated in the 1920s and was widespread in the inter-war period of the 1920s and 1930s. While we don’t have too many examples in the Inner West, Art Deco buildings are popular for their sleek lines, high ceilings and decorative elements.
Today, it remains a popular interior design choice and can be seen in things like architecture, furniture, jewellery, textiles and more.
Art Deco in Australia
The Art Deco style had a fairly big influence on Australian architecture and design from around 1918 right through until the late 1930s, and there are still plenty of properties around today featuring this style. According to the Sydney Architect Group, the Art Deco style was “clean and bold with geometric lines. The style moved away from organic shapes and silhouettes and was heavily inspired by contemporary archaeological discoveries in Egypt and Greece.”
Some of the more recognisable elements of the style are brickwork, elaborate details on chimneys, cast iron and intricate balcony designs. As we got to the last phase of the period, the architecture turned towards including nautical elements and curved forms.
Famous Art Deco buildings around the world
The Art Deco style took over much of the world from the 1920s until World War II. Next time you’re travelling, look for some famous and not-so-famous Art Deco buildings. Some of our favourites include:
- The Chrysler Building, New York City
- Majorelle Garden, Morocco
- Palais de Chaillot, Parisvg
- The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Brussels
- Langham Yangtze Boutique Hotel, Shanghai
- Cincinnati Union Terminal, Cincinnati
- Hoover Building, London
Art Deco buildings in Australia
There are plenty of Art Deco buildings still standing today, and you’ve probably heard or been to many of them. Locally here in Sydney and surrounds, you can visit:
- Hydro Majestic Hotel, Medlow Bath (Blue Mountains)
- Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons
- Enmore Theatre, Newtown
- Light Brigade Hotel, Paddington
- Ritz Cinema, Randwick
- Archibald Fountain, Sydney (recently renovated)
- The old Commonwealth Bank Building, Roseville
- State Theatre Building, Sydney
- North Sydney Olympic Pool, North Sydney
You can certainly make a day or two of discovering old Art Deco buildings in Sydney and surrounds. Some Inner West gems include:
- 40 Rowntree Street, Balmain, an Art Deco treasure in the ‘P&O’ style
- 43 Montague Street, Balmain
- 5 Numa Street, Birchgrove
- 37 Perry Street, Lilyfield
- 65-67 Perry Street, Lilyfield
- Bridge Hotel, Rozelle
- Rozelle Hotel, Rozelle
And of course, we mustn’t overlook the Balmain Town Hall, with a $3 million upgrade due for completion in June 2024.
Away from the Inner West, Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay are perfect places to start exploring before venturing further afield to suburbs like Randwick and Coogee, both of which have many examples of Art Deco commercial and residential buildings.
Across Australia, you can discover many fine Art Deco buildings. Some more obvious examples include:
- Gledden Building, Perth
- Savings Bank of South Australia, Sussex Street, Adelaide
- Harbors Board Building, Port Adelaide
- Duncan House, Launceston
- Hydro-Electric Commission Building, Hobart
- Astor Theatre, St Kilda, Melbourne
- Quest East Melbourne Hotel, Melbourne
- Chisholm House, Dalkeith, Perth
- Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish, Fremantle
Art Deco in your Balmain, Rozelle & Lilyfield home
If you love the Art Deco style, there are plenty of ways that you can introduce it into your Inner West home.
One of the first things you can do is choose items with vibrant colours. Choose cobalt blues, rich purples and emerald green and accessorise with metallic accents. Also choose accents with that Art Deco feel ‒ mirrors and light covers with curved elements can bring the right feel to a room.
One of the things about the Art Deco period is the boldness and grandeur when it comes to art. Choose statement pieces in prominent places that draw in the eye. Also take advantage of rich and luxurious look materials such as polished marble, granite, and metallics. You don’t need to spend a lot of money either ‒ veneers and laminate surfaces can bring the same look as the expensive materials.
For those who love the period and live in a 1920s or 1930s home, Art Deco style is easy to live with and you’ll have fun sourcing the historically accurate décor..
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