Art Deco Building Interior Elements

Art Deco is first and foremost a decorative style and only subordinately an architectural one. Its crisp, reduced to essence shapes and motifs are inspired from the era of efficient mechanical production-line industries that emerged after the Great War. The recognisable angular, repetitive patterns and other abstractions characteristic of this style were also adapted for the building interiors, for elements such as tiles, window frames, stair balustrades or lift shafts.

Bucharest has been the setting of one of the most interesting Art Deco developments in visual arts and architecture. That was possible within a prosperous economic environment as the capital of one of the victorious countries after the WWI, massively benefiting from the revenues generated by the country’s large oil exports (Romania in the inter-war period was one of the main oil producers). The city, even today, after five decades of communism and twenty years of chaotic post-communist transition, is still adorned by many Art Deco buildings and ornaments.

I gathered here a few photographs of interior Art Deco elements that speak volumes about that phase in the urban evolution of Bucharest. The first picture shows a remarkable multicoloured floor mosaic made from rounded square cut rocks embellishing a kitchen located in a late 1920s block of flats in Calea Victoriei area.


Art Deco floor mosaic

Art Deco kitchen floor mosaic from a late 1920s apartment in Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much like the simple, but exquisite mosaic pattern that models a garish rag rug, which was normally used in Continue reading

Daily Picture 13-Nov-09: Art Nouveau Echoes in Late Neo-Romanian Architecture


Neo-Romanian style house with a powerful Art Nouveau decorative register, built in mid 1930s, Cotroceni area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian style with its ornate and heavy, Byzantine inspired structure, has reached a dead end in terms of expression by the early 1930s when new building materials and technology were widely available in Romania that make possible the design of slender and tall buildings. That was the technological and innovative background on which the Art Deco and Modernist styles developed in that period. The Neo-Romanian style reached thus a sort of hubris in the 1930s, expressed in often clumsy attempts to recycle motifs from both old Art Nouveau decorative register originating in its late c19th beginnings and experimentation with Art Deco and even Modernist shapes and decorations. The image above represents one of the best examples of that period of searches and anguish in which the Art Nouveau motifs and shapes, like for example the central tower window decorations or the semicircular eye-like shape of its attic windows, are well balanced and powerfully put forward. However, one can not escape the sensation of anachronistic fairy tale atmosphere generated by this style in the 1930s, an age or roaring technological innovation and futuristic experimentations.


I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.


If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.