Weirdly enough, I expressed my love for all things Art Deco back in a post I wrote in August 2016 called ‘You’re So Art Deco’ inspired by a Lana Del Rey song. To quote myself and to give you a little understanding of this era:
The trend started in Europe, notably Paris, in the early 1900s and quickly spread around the globe. It resurged in the 1960s and is echoed in some of today’s trends and celebrity culture (i.e Kris Jenner’s most recent birthday bash). But there is definitely more to Art Deco than the Baz Luhrmann movie and it is interesting to note that this trend was influenced by the Art Noveau florals and the beginnings of technology.
Walking Art Deco Tour of Mayfair
I was invited on down to discover all things Art Deco in London’s swanky Mayfair district followed by afternoon tea at the prestigious Dorchester hotel. This sounds like the perfect day, right?
The tour started off early on a Sunday morning (24th June) where I met up with the team, our tour guide Yannick and a group of bloggers outside the Sheraton Park Lane’s ball room. I know London is full of history but who knew there was so many buildings emblematic of this era?
Our first stop was former tube station Down Street Mews which was once a stop in-between Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly Circus. It turns out it wasn’t used much, not until the second World War (don’t quote me on this) where it became a bunker. You can always spot disused stations in London as their arches are what makes stand out. I’m glad these little bits of history are still preserved and one day I’d love to explore the tube/bunker to see exactly what its like inside.
The next stop was Carrington House, which didn’t look like much from far, but the closer you got, the more Art Deco details you can see. Can you spot the green tiles?
How to spot all things Art Deco?
Art Deco is easy to spot as it combines Egyptian, Roman and Jazz-age symbols and a bold use of geometry. If you’ve ever seen The Great Gatsby or any movie from The Roaring 20s you’ll begin to build up an idea. I’d always thought the movement was only popular in France and New York, but it’s popular all over the world.
Mayfair, ironically named after a ‘May Fair’, was the home to celebrities, socialites and other wealthy tenants throughout the 20s and 30s and it hasn’t changed much today. It’s not the place you come if you want a cheap dinner or night out. However, if luxury is more your style (like me), you’ll appreciate the architecture, the cleanliness and the cute side streets.
One of our next stops was Landsdowne House in Berkeley Square which was once home to department store mogul Mr Henry Gordon Selfridge. Apparently the parties back in those days were something else and guests left feeling merrier than December 25th. These days, this building is for private members only, and I can completely understand why. Privacy.
Other notable points of interest were a Coco Chanel inspired lamppost, an apparent transformer on the side of a hotel and the most Art Deco office block in London.
Having been to NYC in 2016, I began seeing the comparisons and some differences between the movement there and the movement in London. Yannick, our tour guide, pointed out that there were different movements within the Art Deco space. Miami is more emblematic of the colourful style, whereas New York and Paris are evident of the classic style. What is a common feature in all, is the flat roofs, clean lines, circular windows, iconography and the use of steel frames. Only London would have an Art Deco inspired car park, wouldn’t it?
Read more: Memoirs: The NYC Diaries – Part One
Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester
Our tour came to an end around 12ish where we chilled in the sun for a bit before heading over to The Dorchester hotel for afternoon tea. This place has been on my bucket list forever and its easy to see why; its London luxury at its finest. The service is second to none, the food is amazing, and the decor would see me moving here in a heartbeat.
It was a lovely day and it made me realise how much I take living in London for granted. There really is SO much to explore and instead of walking around on my lunch breaks staring at my phone, I’ll be looking up at architecture and maybe one day giving my own tour of hotspots I come across (or in my case a blog post).
I’m suddenly now looking up hotels in Mayfair to see how the other half truly live. One day I will have a post up called: ‘Memoirs, Musings and Mayfair hotels’. Watch this space…
Read more: Musings: You’re So Art Deco
The post was written in collaboration with Hotels.com but all words are my own. Gif sourced from GIPHY.