Art deco cities

Just as everyone was hitting the dance floor during the Roaring Twenties, we are now itching to hit the road again. We prefer to celebrate our regained freedom in these three inspiring Art Deco cities.

In chic art-deco atmospheres
It’s a mouthful, but it was the Paris world fair Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) that was the impetus for art historian Bevis Hillier to come up with the term ‘Art Deco’. This eclectic style movement from the 1920s and 1930s followed the more ornamental Art Nouveau, adding geometry and excess. The U-shaped Palais de Tokyo is a perfect example of Art Deco architecture. Note that this applies to the building’s excterior, as inside this museum you will find the crème de la crème of modern art. A hidden gem is the Piscine des Amiraux at the edge of the Montmartre neighbourhood and hill. Hidden behind a typical Art Deco façade designed by architect Henri Sauvage lies the municipal swimming pool – featured in the film ‘Amélie’. The same Sauvage was responsible for many more Art Deco façades in the French capital. For example, the recently reopened warehouse La Samaritaine, which after a 16-year renovation period is once again open to the public. Must-sees include the famous glass roof, the iron construction and the impressive staircase. You can discover how Art Deco translates into the year 2021 at the Girafe Restaurant, sitting on a chic Platner Chair, with a glass of wine in your hand and a view of the Eiffel Tower. Santé!

An exuberant Great Gatsby ambience
Think of the merry party-going elite inThe Great Gatsby and you’ll know immediately what the New York of the 1920s was like. F. Scott Fitzgerald liked to write about that scene with a flapper girl at his side: Zelda Fitzgerald was the typical example of this type of spirited woman, sporting a short bob and relishing in making illegal speakeasy bars unsafe during the Prohibition Era. It was also at this time that architectural Art Deco gems were built such as The Chrysler Building, The Empire State Building and Rockefeller Centre. Celebrities slept at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, an official Art Deco landmark that is currently being restored to its former glory. The Brooklyn Public Library, which you enter through monumental bronze Art Deco doors, is accessible to the public. The Beekman Tower provides an amazing view of the buzzing Manhattan – formerly known as Gotham. The top floor of this Art Deco skyscraper houses the Ophelia cocktail bar with its etched glass windows and speakeasy vibe. You can enjoy a large-scale night out at Radio City Music Hall, which in 1932 was not designed like many theatres with classic ornamentation but rather with luxurious, streamlined Art Deco elements. Gatsby would have been able to throw quite a party in this dome-shaped concert hall.

Art Deco in the cinema and the cabaret
Berlin film star Marlène Dietrich dressed like a garçonne during the 1920s: a woman with short hair, masculine clothing and the attractiveness of a femme fatale. It’s a style that was started by fashion designer Coco Chanel, who actually made trousers accessible to the modern woman. It’s easy to imagine the sensational Dietrich in her men’s suit projected against the decor of the Delphi Filmpalast, the impressive film palace that used to show silent films. Or imagine her descending the Art Deco staircase of the Quartier 206 shopping paradise. You only need to immerse yourself in the waters of the Stadtbad Neukölln or Stadtbadt Charlottenburg swimming pools to take you back in time. If you want to buy yourself an outfit from the Roaring Twenties, just browse the Le Boudoir vintage clothing shop on Wühlischstraße. You can experience the lively and liberal Berlin with its jazz culture and cabaret dancers during the Bohème Sauvage parties at constantly changing historic locations. Or book the extravagant Le Pustra’s Kabarett Der Namenlosen, where actors sporting razor-thin Dietrich eyebrows interpret the role of licentious nightclub-goers in the 1920s. Viel spaß!

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