Habitus Living, May 2018
“Art Deco, done just right. Here designers and architects share their modern take on the design elements that shaped the Roaring Twenties and beyond, and reveal how others can follow suit.
When you think of Art Deco, what comes to mind? Is it the flapper glamour of the 1920s, the bold geometric patterns, the lavish ornaments? Perhaps it’s a combination of all three. Wherever our contemporary perceptions take their cues – and we suspect The Great Gatsby has a lot to answer for – Art Deco was for a time, pervasive, and reflected a bold move away from the previous status quo. Almost all parts of life in the 20s and 30s, even into the 40s, were shaped in some way by the design movement. Above all else, Art Deco was a celebration of modern times and technology, an embrace of luxury after the austerity of World War I. Considering its rich and convoluted context then, how do we – almost 100 years later – understand Art Deco? We put this question to architects and interior designers, who have shared with us their contemporary interpretations of Art Deco interiors and 1920s furniture design.
High above the Bondi shoreline sits one of the most architecturally significant buildings in Sydney’s surviving Art Deco scene. Built in 1929, the unit block had lost its lustre of late. Dean Bialek, the managing director of Former Glory Inc., worked with SJB’s Jonathan Richards and Ciolino Constructions to bring the heritage building back to life – joining two apartments together to form his family penthouse. A great admirer of Art Deco, Dean’s goal was to restore and rejuvenate the character of the apartments. “We prioritized the retention and upgrading of important Deco features in the pre-renovation spaces, carefully salvaging original cornices, handmade timber architrave details and frosted glass light fittings,” Dean tells.
Creating spaces that feel like a natural fit for their modern context and location was also essential. “It’s Bondi Beach, a lively place to start with, and the Art Deco style is often characterised by a sense of joy,” Jonathan Richards of SJB explains. “We wanted these interiors to maintain that jubilance.” Vivid bathroom tiles – seen here in deep green and lacquered black – terrazzo shelving and timber floors in the form of chevron parquetry feel reminiscent of classic art deco interiors, yet still fresh for today...”