Although it was short-lived, Art Deco left an impression on many cities in the world and is quite possibly the first global architectural style. Since this site is already heavily dedicated to Art Deco Architecture in London, the UK and in particular Du Cane Court here is a top 10 list of Art Deco cities that excludes London.
Unveiling the Hidden Gems: Discover the 10 Best Art Deco Cities That Will Leave You in Awe!
Get Ready to Feast Your Eyes on Breathtaking Architectural Marvels, Drenched in Art Deco Splendor. From Paris to New York, Amsterdam to Miami, These Cities Will Transport You to a World of Glamour and Elegance. Click Here to Explore the Mesmerizing Photos and Embark on a Journey through Time and Style! Don’t Miss Out on These Exquisite Destinations Where Art Deco Reigns Supreme!
1. Miami, Fl, USA
Perhaps the most iconic and best known on the list. The Miami Art Deco District, situated in the vibrant South Beach area of Miami Beach, showcases an unparalleled collection of impeccably preserved art deco buildings, making it a true gem among global architectural treasures.
Nestled along Ocean Drive, the expansive thoroughfare that stretches alongside the majestic Atlantic Ocean, this district encompasses an impressive array of historic structures, with its boundaries defined by 5th Street to the south and 15th Street to the north. Visitors are captivated by the allure of this renowned tourist destination, where elegant hotels, charming open-air restaurants, and vibrant Latin-themed nightlife converge.
The district proudly boasts approximately 960 meticulously preserved art deco structures, collectively designated as a U.S. historic district in 1979 to safeguard their original splendour. Among the standout architectural marvels with captivating art deco facades are The Colony, The Breakwater, and The Clevelander.
Over the years, the Miami Art Deco District has witnessed a transformative journey of ups and downs. In the 1980s, the district endured a period of neglect and disrepair, with many of its magnificent buildings serving as low-rent hotels or abandoned structures. However, in the 1990s, artists began flocking to the area, infusing it with creative energy.
Responding to the increasing interest, the city of Miami embarked on an ambitious revitalisation project, breathing new life into these architectural treasures. As the pristine beaches beckoned tourists from near and far, the district experienced a remarkable resurgence. The buildings were lovingly restored to their former glory, and the area evolved into the vibrant, fun-loving, and historically significant district that it is celebrated as today.
2. Berlin, Germany
Berlin, the vibrant capital of Germany, presents a captivating array of Art Deco architecture for enthusiasts of this iconic style. Scattered throughout the city, these architectural gems offer a glimpse into the rich heritage of Art Deco design.
Among the most renowned landmarks that exemplify the Art Deco style are the Babylon Cinema, nestled in the vibrant Mitte district, and the Mossehaus building, also located in Mitte. These structures showcase the elegance and sophistication synonymous with the era. Additionally, the Haus des Deutschen Metallarbeiterverbandes in Kreuzberg and the Delphi-Filmpalast in Charlottenburg are celebrated for their distinctive Art Deco features.
Venturing beyond the well-known landmarks, Berlin reveals a treasure trove of hidden gems. Consider exploring lesser-known Art Deco buildings during your visit, providing a sense of discovery and uniqueness. As Berlin sprawls across a vast expanse, narrowing your search to the former West Berlin, particularly the districts of Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf, can help streamline your exploration.
While in Berlin, don’t miss the opportunity to admire other remarkable examples of Art Deco, such as the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Wilmersdorf, the Kreuzkirche church in Schmargendorf, and the Ullsteinhaus in Tempelhof. Each of these architectural marvels showcases the innovation, elegance, and timeless appeal of Art Deco.
3. Singapore, Singapore
Explore Singapore’s Rich Art Deco Heritage: Shophouses, Landmarks, and Iconic Cathay Building
Step back in time and witness the captivating allure of Singapore’s Art Deco architecture, which beautifully captures the spirit of a bygone era. During the flourishing days of the Straits Settlements, ambitious merchants and diligent immigrant labourers converged upon this vibrant city, leaving behind a remarkable legacy.
Discover the charm of Chinatown and Geylang, where the iconic shophouses still stand proudly. Despite their size limitations, these architectural gems showcase the essence of Art Deco with their striking vertical structures, bold geometric shapes, and eye-catching signage. Embrace the contrast of capturing these architectural marvels against the backdrop of towering modern skyscrapers, creating an intriguing visual spectacle.
Among the standout landmarks, the former Cathay Building holds a special place. Unveiled in 1939, it marked Singapore’s first air-conditioned public space, revolutionising comfort in the tropical climate. Designed by the visionary Frank Brewer, the building boasted stepped and curved exteriors in the Streamline fashion. The vertical ‘Cathay’ name graced the entrance, accompanied by captivating billboards promoting the latest Hollywood films. Additionally, the building’s 16-story apartment block made it the tallest structure in the city at that time.
Even amidst the shadows of the Second World War, the Cathay Building remained a beacon of resilience, hosting a cinema that provided solace and escapism during challenging times. Generations have passed down stories of Japanese occupation and the surrounding struggles, making the aged walls of the building carry a poignant sense of history. In the new millennium, the Cathay Building underwent redevelopment, replacing the residential block with a modern glass complex. However, the iconic facade was thoughtfully preserved and revitalised. Today, the Cathay stands as a vibrant hub, housing a mall, luxurious apartments, and the renowned Cathay Organisation’s flagship cineplex.
Discover the captivating allure of Singapore’s Art Deco architecture, where history intertwines with modernity. Embark on a journey through the city’s vibrant streets, capturing the charm of shophouses and landmarks that pay homage to the golden age of design. Immerse yourself in the fascinating stories and vibrant atmosphere that make Singapore’s Art Deco heritage truly unforgettable.
4. Reims, France
Reims, the historic city that endured significant damage during World War II, experienced its reconstruction during the later years of the Art Deco era. A collaborative effort involving architects, donors, and designers from around the world, including the United States, contributed to the restoration of this remarkable city.
The Art Deco influence is evident in the facades of many streets, boasting graceful designs and sweeping lines. Among the notable contributors of the time was Andrew Carnegie, the renowned steel magnate from the United States. Carnegie played a crucial role in funding the restoration of the iconic Notre Dame de Reims, as well as the creation of one of the most striking examples of Art Deco architecture in the city: the Carnegie Library.
Located adjacent to the Notre Dame cathedral, this small but significant tribute to knowledge and art showcases exquisite columns, a captivating card catalog room adorned with richly stained wood, and breathtaking stained glass windows in its renowned reading room.
A visit to the Carnegie Library is a must for anyone with a deep appreciation for the splendour of Art Deco or Art Nouveau architecture. This enchanting place beckons visitors to immerse themselves in its beauty and indulge in hours of admiration.
5. Richmond, VA, USA
Richmond, Virginia, is a thriving city on the eastern seaboard, renowned for its rich history and diverse architectural influences. Amidst the backdrop of Antebellum, Post-Bellum, and mid-century structures, the city proudly showcases several captivating examples of Art Deco architecture.
One notable gem is the Hotel John Marshall, which opened its doors in 1929 as one of the nation’s largest hotels. Its impressive Art Deco facade and iconic rooftop marquee continue to command attention, illuminating the downtown skyline and serving as a testament to the city’s storied past. Another architectural marvel is the Byrd Theatre, an exquisite movie palace constructed in 1928. With its original Wurlitzer organ performances, well-preserved 1920s seats, and breathtaking decor, this beloved theatre offers a captivating blend of art and architecture in Richmond’s historic Fan District.
Not to be missed is the Central National Bank (CNB) building, a personal favourite among the city’s array of Art Deco treasures. Despite its previous state of disrepair, this architectural masterpiece has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, emerging as loft residences that exude an enchanting Art Deco flair.
Experience the allure of Art Deco in Richmond, as these architectural marvels transport you back in time while seamlessly blending with the city’s vibrant modern identity.
6. New York, NY, USA
Discover the Timeless Splendour of Art Deco in New York City
Unveiling a captivating skyline adorned with architectural marvels, New York City stands as a global haven for Art Deco enthusiasts. Embracing the spirit of the roaring twenties and thirties, the city experienced an unprecedented surge in growth, making Art Deco the prevailing style in North America and shaping its iconic landscape. From grand cinemas to majestic apartment buildings and awe-inspiring office structures, Art Deco permeates every borough of this vibrant metropolis.
At the forefront of New York’s Art Deco showcase stands the legendary Empire State Building—an unrivalled exemplar of the style. Dominating the city skyline, this iconic landmark features a 16-story spire that reaches for the heavens. Step inside to be transported back in time as the interiors mesmerise with their distinctive graphic patterns, bold lines, and timeless elegance.
As you traverse the city, encounter a treasure trove of notable Art Deco gems that evoke an aura of grandeur and sophistication. The Western Union Building, 1 Wall Street, Bryant Park Hotel, Brooklyn Public Library, and the revered Chrysler Building all contribute to New York’s illustrious Art Deco tapestry. Each structure boasts unique architectural elements, intricate details, and a captivating fusion of geometric patterns and sleek lines.
Immerse yourself in the opulence and grandeur of New York’s Art Deco heritage as you explore the city’s boroughs. From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the cultural enclaves of Brooklyn and beyond, the city’s rich architectural landscape invites you on a captivating journey through time.
Indulge your senses in the magnificence of Art Deco’s golden era, as New York City unveils its timeless allure, serving as a living testament to the brilliance of this iconic design movement.
7. Roubaix, France
La Piscine: Rediscovering Art Deco Splendor in Roubaix
Step into the enchanting world of La Piscine, a remarkable testament to Art Deco architecture in the heart of Roubaix. Designed by the talented local architect Albert Baert, this captivating masterpiece is renowned for its exquisite stained glass windows, featuring the iconic sunburst motif that characterises the Art Deco movement. Originally hailed as the most beautiful swimming pool in France, La Piscine has undergone a fascinating transformation to become a captivating art museum.
In the early 20th century, Roubaix faced challenging living conditions for its workers. In a visionary move, the city’s mayor, Jean-Baptiste Lebas, commissioned the construction of this magnificent public swimming baths. Opening its doors in 1932, the flamboyant structure became a symbol of unity, attracting people from all walks of life and breaking down the social barriers that had long existed.
Beyond the main pool, La Piscine featured 40 individual bathrooms that offered a much-needed refuge for locals. These spaces, available for rent at an affordable fee, not only provided an opportunity for personal hygiene but also served as laundry facilities. Women, deprived of hot water in their homes, utilised these baths to cleanse both themselves and their garments.
Tragically, in 1985, La Piscine was forced to close due to safety concerns. However, a ray of hope emerged as renowned architect Jean-Paul Philippon spearheaded its redevelopment. Through meticulous renovations, the iconic structure was reborn as an art museum in 2001, delighting the local community and visitors alike.
Today, the former changing and shower cubicles of the swimming pool have been ingeniously repurposed as exhibition rooms, showcasing a rich tapestry of textiles, ceramics, and fashion items. Meanwhile, the museum’s restaurant preserves the charm of the original fixtures and fittings and offers a delightful culinary experience in a serene courtyard garden.
Prepare to be captivated by the timeless allure of La Piscine, where Art Deco grandeur intertwines with a compelling narrative of resilience and cultural reinvention.
8. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Central Market: Phnom Penh’s Architectural Gem in the Heart of Cambodia
Immerse yourself in the timeless elegance of Phnom Penh’s Central Market, an iconic landmark designed by renowned French architects Jean Desbois and Louis Chauchon in the 1930s. This architectural masterpiece stands as a testament to the city’s rich history, showcasing the magnificence of the Art Deco style that once graced the capital. Adorned in a striking palette of yellow and white, the market’s completion in 1937 marked its significance as one of the few remaining structures from that era.
Step inside and be captivated by the market’s unique design, thoughtfully created to provide comfort even during the hottest days. Ingeniously designed cutouts in the ceiling and walls ensure a natural airflow, keeping the interior pleasantly cool and refreshing. Unlike other markets in the city that can become hot and stuffy, Central Market offers a delightful shopping experience.
As you venture deeper, the heart of the market unfolds—a magnificent dome with a soaring ceiling that allows streams of natural light to cascade down, casting enchanting shadows and illuminating the vibrant atmosphere. Symmetrically arranged, four hallways radiate from the central dome, offering a seamless flow and an organised shopping experience.
Central Market remains a vibrant hub for locals and travellers alike, embodying the essence of Phnom Penh’s daily life. Here, Cambodians and expats come together, bustling through the market’s lively corridors to purchase fresh produce, essential goods, and even flower arrangements for significant events like funerals. Travellers are drawn not only to the vibrant market atmosphere but also to its diverse offerings, which include an array of souvenirs, clothing, wigs, and jewellery. It is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends architecture, culture, and commerce.
No visit to Phnom Penh is complete without exploring Central Market—a captivating feast for the senses, a testimony to architectural brilliance, and a vibrant reflection of Cambodia’s bustling capital. Uncover the charm of this cultural gem and embrace the allure of Phnom Penh’s rich heritage.
9. Napier, New Zealand
Napier, New Zealand: A Scenic Journey into Art Deco Splendour
Nestled along the picturesque east coast of the North Island, Napier proudly holds the title of the Art Deco Capital of the World. This charming city underwent a remarkable transformation in the early 1930s after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake razed much of its commercial district to the ground.
In the wake of the disaster, the global Art Deco movement was at its height, and New Zealand swiftly embraced this captivating style. Today, Napier boasts a stunning collection of 140 Art Deco buildings, which can be easily explored by strolling through the vibrant heart of the city, particularly along Emerson, Tennyson, and Hastings streets.
Among the myriad architectural gems, one building that captures the essence of Napier’s Art Deco charm is the remarkable three-story Napier Municipal Theatre. Resiliently standing amidst the aftermath of the quake, this structure was meticulously restored in the traditional Art Deco style both inside and out.
The exterior showcases the hallmark features of the era, including sleek lines, geometric patterns, and vibrant colours. Yet, it is the interior that truly comes alive with a mesmerising array of intricate details. As you step inside, prepare to be transported to another era with Egyptian-inspired columns, radiant sunburst motifs, magnificent ziggurats, elegant chrome accents, and dazzling neon and fluorescent light fixtures. The flooring proudly exhibits captivating Art Deco patterns, and a classical Art Deco ticket booth adds a touch of nostalgic grandeur.
Exploring Napier’s Art Deco heritage is an immersive experience that allows you to appreciate the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that defined the era. Every corner unveils a captivating blend of history, culture, and architectural splendour, inviting you to unravel the stories woven within each Art Deco masterpiece.
10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Unveiling the Architectural Splendour of Art Deco in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, renowned for its picturesque canal houses reflecting Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles, occasionally presents a building that stands out from the rest, capturing the essence of a different era. One such architectural gem is the Pathe Tuschinski, nestled on Reguliersbreestraat.
While Amsterdam boasts numerous canal houses adorned in traditional styles, the Pathe Tuschinski shines as a beacon of Art Deco brilliance in the city centre. This captivating structure stands out amidst its more modest neighbouring houses, boasting a fusion of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Amsterdam School influences on its facade. I am lucky enough to have this as my local cinema after swapping Du Cane Court for Amsterdam.
Commissioned by Abraham Icek Tuschinski, a visionary Dutch businessman specialising in cinema ventures, this theatre was brought to life by the esteemed architect Hijman Louis de Jong. Serving as the architect’s magnum opus, the Pathe Tuschinski is widely recognised as one of the world’s most stunning cinemas.
Originally opening its doors in 1921, Theater Tuschinski is now part of the renowned Pathè cinema branch. Visitors can immerse themselves in its timeless beauty by attending one of the captivating shows hosted within its hallowed halls. If a movie screening isn’t on your agenda, embark on an engaging audio tour available in both English and Dutch. Delve into the rich history and architectural significance of this remarkable venue during the informative 45-minute tour, offered between 09:30 and 11:30. Priced at 10 euros per person, the tour also includes a delightful tea or coffee experience.
Amsterdam’s architectural landscape further embraces the Art Deco allure with other notable structures, including the Beurs van Berlage on Damrak, the American Hotel on Leidseplein, and the Astoria building. Each of these edifices showcases the captivating design elements and distinctive charm associated with the Art Deco movement.
Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Art Deco as you explore Amsterdam’s architectural treasures. From the vibrant canal-lined streets to the cultural hubs of the city, the echoes of this iconic design style are waiting to be discovered.