Discover the Art Deco Splendor: Unveiling Europe’s Top 3 Cities of Architectural Elegance

Art Deco Europe: Exploring the Architectural Gems of Kaunas, Lisbon, and Amsterdam

Experience the vibrant exuberance of Art Deco, a testament to the early 20th-century fascination with technology and progress. Embodied by straight lines and bold shapes, this iconic architectural style has left its indelible mark across 10 captivating cities in Europe. Step into a world where artistic expression meets modernity, and discover the captivating allure of these urban landscapes that perfectly showcase the spirit of Art Deco.

Art Deco emerged in France during the First World War and became synonymous with the vibrant era of jazz, iconic personalities like Josephine Baker, glamorous cocktail parties, sleek convertibles, and the advent of talking pictures. In contrast to the curvaceous and nature-inspired Art Nouveau movement, Art Deco embraced symmetry, layering, pyramid shapes, stepped forms, and zigzag lines. Its significance was further recognised and celebrated at the Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925.

While European cities couldn’t compete with the towering steel-framed skyscrapers of the United States, they developed their own distinctive streamlined architectural style. These buildings featured art-deco geometry infused with national motifs, resulting in exotic facades that exuded a sense of sophistication and modernity. Drawing inspiration from cubism, futurism, and the widespread fascination with ancient Egyptian art following the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922, Art Deco brought a dynamic and colourful aesthetic to urban landscapes. It embodied the spirit of the times, blending technological advancements with artistic expression.

Kaunas, Lithuania

Discover the hidden gem of Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas, where Art Deco architecture thrives in unexpected splendour. Once the country’s capital, Kaunas experienced a period of rapid urban growth in the 1920s and 30s, giving rise to a unique blend of Art Deco infused with traditional Baltic folk elements. Prepare to be captivated by the city’s architectural landscape, where simplified yet characteristic versions of the style can be found at every turn.

The Christ’s Resurrection Basilica stands as a striking testament to Kaunas’s Art Deco legacy. Originally built between 1932 and 1940, this grand church had a tumultuous history, serving as a storehouse during the Nazi occupation and later as a factory under Stalin’s rule. Finally consecrated in 2004, it now proudly showcases Art Deco design elements, resembling a magnificent skyscraper that soars toward the heavens.

As you explore the city, be sure to visit the central post office, a prime example of solid Art Deco architecture. Immerse yourself in the city’s history at the Great War Museum, housed in a magnificent Art Deco building dating back to 1936. These architectural wonders reflect Kaunas’s rich heritage and its pivotal role in the inter-war period.

Kauno Centrinis Paštas

Kaunas’s exceptional architectural landscape has garnered international recognition, making it the first city in Central and Eastern Europe to be designated as a UNESCO Design City. This prestigious accolade celebrates the city’s commitment to preserving and showcasing its remarkable inter-war architecture, including its awe-inspiring Art Deco structures.

During your stay, indulge in the charm of Hotel Metropolis, a stunning accommodation exemplifying the early 20th-century “Lithuanian baroque” style. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of a bygone era while enjoying comfortable and affordable doubles starting from just €36 per night. For a culinary experience that perfectly complements the Art Deco surroundings, treat yourself to a memorable dinner at Movido restaurant. Nestled within a beautifully restored 1930s cinema, the Romuva, this dining venue offers a seamless fusion of delectable cuisine and captivating Art Deco ambiance.

As you wander through the streets of Kaunas, let the city’s Art Deco treasures transport you to a bygone era of elegance and artistic flair. From architectural marvels to culinary delights, Kaunas offers a truly enchanting experience for art and design enthusiasts alike. Prepare to be enthralled by this captivating destination where Art Deco reigns supreme.

Lisbon, Portugal

Embark on a journey through Lisbon’s rich architectural tapestry, where Art Deco flourishes amidst the city’s charming streets. While some of these architectural gems have suffered neglect over the years, they still retain an undeniable allure. Lisbon unveils a delightful blend of stunning Art Deco designs and forgotten structures, providing a fascinating contrast for architecture enthusiasts.

One of the most remarkable Art Deco treasures in Lisbon is the Teatro Eden, masterfully designed by Carlos Florêncio Dias and Cassiano Branco. Located on the vibrant Praça dos Restauradores, this iconic theatre now serves as the elegant Orion Eden hotel. Step inside and immerse yourself in the opulent ambiance that showcases the architectural splendour of its time.

A visit to the Cais do Sodré station is a must for any Art Deco aficionado. Dating back to 1928, this station stands as a true landmark of the era. Its distinctive geometric layering, intricate checkered stained glass windows, and a mesmerising piano keyboard marble floor transport visitors to a bygone era of glamour and sophistication.

Venture into the Parque Mayer, an area awaiting redevelopment but steeped in history. This vibrant space opened its doors in 1922, welcoming visitors with carousels, a lively fairground, a bustling boxing ring, and two prominent Art Deco cinemas: Variedades and Capitólio. While awaiting its transformation, the Parque Mayer retains an air of nostalgia and intrigue, inviting you to imagine the vibrant scenes that once unfolded within its walls.

Lisbon boasts several other notable Art Deco landmarks worth exploring. The National Statistics Institute stands as a testament to the architectural ingenuity of the time, while the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima offers a serene sanctuary adorned with Art Deco elements.

For a truly immersive experience, indulge in a stay at the luxurious Hotel Britania, exquisitely designed by Cassiano Branco. Immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance of its fabulously opulent lacquered cabinets, elegant white marble floors, and stylish striped furniture. Offering rooms starting from €159 per night, this remarkable hotel provides a haven of comfort and sophistication, capturing the essence of Art Deco allure.

In Lisbon, the intertwining threads of past and present weave a captivating tapestry of architectural wonders. Uncover the city’s stunning Art Deco legacy while immersing yourself in the charm and allure of its neglected yet captivating buildings. Lisbon’s art-deco treasures await your exploration, promising an unforgettable journey through time and architectural splendour.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

European art deco may not have reached the flamboyance of its American counterpart, but Amsterdam offers a glimpse into the enchanting world of this architectural style. One of the city’s standout gems is the Tuschinski cinema, a marvel that comes close to matching the grandeur of its American counterparts. Step into its opulent foyer adorned in rich autumnal shades, where every detail, from the matching carpets to the mesmerising special lighting effects, exudes elegance and sophistication.

Amsterdam proudly boasts other art-deco cinemas that are equally captivating. The Rialto, The Movies, and the former Ceintuur, which now houses the trendy CT Coffee and Coconuts, showcase the distinctive aesthetics of the era. Immerse yourself in the glitz and glamour of these cinematic experiences, transported back in time to an era of glamour and silver-screen magic.

Venturing into the southern De Pijp district reveals a treasure trove of art deco and expressionist-inspired brick architecture, influenced by the renowned Amsterdam School. During the 1920s, the Amsterdam School was a radical design centre, pushing the boundaries of architectural innovation. Marvel at the intricate details and unique blend of styles as you wander through this vibrant neighbourhood. Among the notable structures, the De Bazel, constructed in 1926 for the Dutch Trading Company, stands as a testament to the era’s visionary design. Additionally, the stadium built for the 1928 summer Olympics showcases the city’s commitment to creating stunning venues that combine functionality with artistic flair.

For a truly immersive experience, retreat to the enchanting Banks Mansion hotel. Indulge in the comfort of your room, adorned with stained glass windows, geometric fabrics, and elegant wooden furniture. Each element is carefully curated to transport you back to the golden age of art deco. And if you’re looking for a touch of relaxation, take a leisurely 20-minute stroll along the picturesque Herengracht to Sauna Deco. Here, the original art-deco stairs and gilded decorations from Paris’s iconic Le Bon Marché department store create a luxurious oasis where you can unwind and rejuvenate.

Amsterdam’s art deco wonders offer a captivating glimpse into a bygone era. From the mesmerising cinemas to the architectural marvels, the city’s rich heritage will leave you awe-inspired. Immerse yourself in the beauty and sophistication of art deco, and let Amsterdam’s charm transport you to a time of glamour and artistic expression.

Stay: Banks Mansion Hotel (doubles from €209, room only) or the NH Flower Market
Experience: Sauna Deco, a haven of art deco elegance

🌟 Discover the Art Deco Delights of Amsterdam! 🌟

When you think of Amsterdam, picturesque canals, charming gabled houses, and vibrant tulip fields may come to mind. But did you know that this Dutch capital also boasts a stunning array of Art Deco architecture? Get ready to explore the Art Deco wonders that await in the bustling streets of Amsterdam:

1️⃣ The Tuschinski Theater:

Step into a world of cinematic grandeur at the Tuschinski Theater, a true Art Deco gem. This iconic movie palace, built in the 1920s, features an extravagant exterior adorned with intricate detailing, while the interior showcases opulent designs, stunning murals, and plush velvet seats. Catch a film in this architectural masterpiece and immerse yourself in the golden age of cinema.

2️⃣ The Shipping House:

Marvel at the Shipping House (Scheepvaarthuis), a magnificent Art Deco building that once served as the headquarters of six Dutch shipping companies. Its striking façade combines Art Deco and Amsterdam School influences, featuring beautiful sculptures, ornate reliefs, and elegant balconies. The Shipping House is a testament to the city’s maritime heritage and architectural prowess. Read more about the architect here.

3️⃣ The Olympic Stadium:

Visit the Olympic Stadium, an architectural marvel that hosted the 1928 Summer Olympics. This Art Deco sports venue showcases sleek lines, geometric patterns, and decorative reliefs that epitomize the style of the era. Take a tour of the stadium, walk in the footsteps of past Olympic athletes, and admire the timeless beauty of this historic landmark.

4️⃣ Het Schip:

Explore Het Schip, a remarkable residential building that exemplifies the Amsterdam School architectural style, which has Art Deco influences. This unique social housing complex features curved lines, decorative brickwork, and ornate details, blending functionality with artistic expression. Visit the museum inside Het Schip to learn more about its history and the architectural movements that shaped Amsterdam.

5️⃣ The KLM Building:

Admire the KLM Building (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij), the former headquarters of the Dutch national airline. This stunning Art Deco structure stands out with its geometric patterns, decorative reliefs, and elegant tower. Today, the building houses a hotel and restaurant, allowing visitors to experience the grandeur of Art Deco while enjoying modern comforts.

Immerse yourself in the Art Deco wonders of Amsterdam and let the elegance and sophistication of this architectural style captivate your imagination. As you wander through the city’s streets, keep an eye out for hidden gems and unique facades that showcase the city’s rich architectural heritage. From theaters and residential buildings to sports venues and landmarks, Amsterdam’s Art Deco treasures are waiting to be discovered.

So, next time you visit Amsterdam, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of Art Deco architecture amidst the city’s vibrant culture and historic charm. Explore the architectural gems that add a touch of glamour and timeless elegance to the Dutch capital. Amsterdam is not just about canals and bicycles—it’s a treasure trove of Art Deco delights! ✨🏛️

Art Deco Amsterdam and the Pathé Tuschinski Cinema

The very gothic looking Pathé Tuschinski Cinema in Amsterdam is a mix of styles with an amazing art deco interior.

Tuschinski is a huge, Art Deco cinema palace located between the Muntplein Munt tower (near the world-famous flower market) and the Rembrandtplein. Walking around the flower market area, you should see two towers by Tuschinski rising above other buildings. Built by the polish immigrant  Abraham Icek Tuschinski (1898-1942), the cinema opened in 1921 and it is still around today with its Art Deco interior one of the most intriguing buildings in Amsterdam.

Tuschinski arrived in Rotterdam from Poland. Cinema was a new craze when he arrived and Tuschinski managed to open four cinemas in Rotterdam. In 1917, Tuschinski moved to Amsterdam, and a year later began the construction of the now world-famous cinema in Amsterdam at the time it cost around 4 million guilders.

The cinema is a mixture of Art Deco with the style of the Dutch Amsterdam School and some Art Nouveau mixed in for good measure. The original architect could not finish the building and Tuschinski fired him before the end of the construction, and two other architects ended up completing the interiors.

Fancy a weekend in Amsterdam to visit this gem?