Aperture | My Favourite London Art Deco

May 12, 2017

Hoover Building London, Art Deco Architecture (2)

Image: Design Soda

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I’ve been really flattered to be asked to do half a dozen or so interviews recently for other websites and publications and one thing that’s pretty standard in pieces of this sort seems to be questions on where one finds inspiration. I find that whatever other factors I mention, London is always the one I settle on most firmly, sometimes it’s cafes or what people are wearing on the tube, but always present at the top of mind when I’m thinking about this is the architecture. We are so lucky in this city to have such a diverse cultural range of architectural styles. There are no grand boulevards of the nineteenth century like Paris here (though I feel slightly uneasy that the property market is beginning to socially cleanse the inner city population along the same lines of Paris 150 years ago).

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Hoover Building London, Art Deco Architecture detail

.Hoover Building London, Art Deco Architecture doors

Images: Design Soda

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One of the many architectural styles, and an endless source of inspiration for me, is Art Deco, and I have often snapped stunning examples of it in my Through The Aperture posts. I love how opulent and stylised it looks within our cities landscape, it’s never zoned into neat rows like our American counterparts but dotted like so many gems amongst the more austere and historical. I’ve been passing quite a bit of it lately (with camera to hand) and even made a special trip to the Hoover building above and below which is currently a Tescos that’s being renovated to become luxury apartments (well, of course). Look at these images above and below, they could be Miami or Palm Springs until you turn round and view the A40 in all of its congested London glory.

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Hoover Building London, Art Deco Architecture

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Hoover Building London, Art Deco Architecture gates

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Hoover Building London, Art Deco Architecture garage

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Hoover Building London, Art Deco Architecture tesco

Image: Design Soda

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Despite the scaffolding and renovation, it’s quite a site to see, I can’t believe the Tesco branding which is completely unsympathetic to the surroundings (surprised they weren’t at least forced to use the buildings key colours in the way you sometimes see with fast food outlets within areas of architectural note). This is one of quite a few Deco landmarks from our industrial past that line this corner of the A40, some have been demolished, but this is the one that always stands out to me as the jewel in the crown. We used to pass it on car journeys to Oxford during my childhood, and it was always one of the last winks of the urbane and sophisticated before leaving the city long behind.

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McCann Erikson London Advertising Agency, art deco building bloomsbury

Image: Design Soda

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For those of you that watched Mad Men (yes, I miss it too) this next building likely needs no introduction, it is the London office of the rival advertising agency McCann Erickson, who are forever trying to poach Don Draper in the series. Built in the 1930’s, this simple Art Deco building stands in stark contrast to the rest of its settled gentile Bloomsbury surroundings. Excepting Senate House, it’s the only grand Deco building I can think of in the area, hiding down a backstreet off Russell Square (and somehow never noticed during my student days) this quietly beautiful architectural gem makes my heart sing.

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McCann Erikson London Advertising Agency, art deco building bloomsbury doorway

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McCann Erikson London Advertising Agency, art deco building bloomsbury detail

Image: Design Soda

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Next on my list to visit is The Strand apartments in Hackney which look really special, but for now I leave you with a building I drive past quite often on one of our routes to toddler play activities. Just on the outskirts of Croydon, near to the old airport (another Art Deco find) this building makes me smile every time I drive past it. 

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Croydon Art Deco Buildings

Image: Design Soda

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What are your favourite Art Deco spots in London? Or even architectural styles?

 

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