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.
I very much like the simple, but exquisite mosaic pattern that models a garish rag rug, which was normally used in c19th or country houses to cover the kitchen floor. The artist ingeniously transposed that practical artefact in an Art Deco matrix, achieving a remarkable visual effect.
Next are examples of ceramic tiles covering staircase walls, decorated with interesting Art Deco motifs in an excellent choice of fresh colour combination.
And finally, here are examples of Art Deco style staircase windows and the lift shaft ironwork.
The interior decorative elements presented above are just another argument that the Art Deco heritage of Bucharest is still surprisingly rich, has not lost its capacity to surprise and fully deserves to be thoroughly studied and preserved.
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