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  • Writer's picturemafling

HIDDEN LONDON [20] - Art Deco Hidden Gems.

This week the Friday talk on teams is about Art Deco and the modern movement, so I thought I would share with you some of London’s hidden Deco gems.

- The first hidden in plain site is just off Regents St, and to me is a daring and very glamorous building, now known as Palladium House [formerly Ideal house] it was built between 1924-28 for the National Radiator Company, faced with slabs of shiny black granite and decorated with fired enamels panels , it’s style would fit into the Egyptian revival movement, that became fashionable after the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 , and its stark and darkly exotic exterior is unlike anywhere else in

London I can think of.

The Frames Coach Station and Daimler garage, situated on Herebrand Street near Russell square has always intrigued me, as background I used it in an early fashion shoot when working with models agents. It’s wavy, swooping lines painted matt white seem so extreme, and for what was basically a garage very luxurious. It was built with the use of a reinforced cast concrete, with a design that shouts “Streamline Moderne’ and to me has echoes of the Guggenheim in New York.

- There are many other building in London with great art deco exteriors, the Carreras Cigarette Factory in Camden looks like an Egyptian temple, it is stunning, but impersonal in its size, and there are very few with stylish interiors that you would want to live in. One that is off the beaten tourist track is Eltham Palace is south east London, once a Royal palace and home to Henry VIII as a child, it was substantially rebuilt by the Courtauld family as a residence in 1933 after languishing as a ruin for centuries.

The outside of the house by Seeley and Paget is quite underwhelming to me, having a slight French Baronial feel, but the interiors designs are truly wonderful, the circular marquetry entrance hall floodlit by a glazed dome is by Swedish design Rolf Engstromer and Virginia’s circular bedroom and turquoise and gold mosaic bathroom, by the Italian designer Piero Malacrida De Saint August, are the height of luxury. Now run by English Heritage and easily reached by national rail train from London Bridge, it also has a wonderful Tudor oak hammer beam roof in the Great Hall built for Edward IV in the 1470’s and terraced landscaped gardens to enjoy.

Whether you’re aware of the Art Deco movement at all, there is much that is still around us, and it still has a powerful influence on many contemporary designers of fashion, interiors, jewellery as well as architecture today, so go and take a look!

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