Art Deco was a material style movement that developed during the 1920s in Europa and the United States. The term art deco was popularized by the art historian and critic Bevis Hiller in the book ‘Art Deco of the 20s and 30s’. There’s a theory that this was an abbreviation of the ‘Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industrials’, an exhibition held in Paris in 1925.
Art Deco was completely different from Art Nouveau, the style that preceded it. Art Nouveau was floral and with curvy lines. Art Deco was bold, stark and has simple lines. An Art Deco building was designed to be clean and uncluttered, but still refined and elegant. Sometimes nautical or precolombian elements are included.
Why am I telling you all this? Because the last months we were busy in Schoten (my hometown, next to Antwerp). From the 9th till the 24th of April there’s an exhibition about Art Deco and more specific about Joseph De Coene. He was a painter and entrepreneur. The furniture of his company ‘De Coene’ are celebrated around the world. More information about the exposition on this site.
In Antwerp you can also find some beautiful examples in Art Deco style. These are my favourites:
1.Belgian Fruit Fair
I already wrote about this warehouse, here.
Tilquin is a shop specialised in cutlery, silverware and crockery. In 1933 they asked architect Joseph Selis to design a new shop. After 60 years the shop moved to another building. Between 2002 and 2004 the shop and apartments above were renovated by architects Driesen – Meersman – Thomaes.
The Boerentoren (Farmer’s tower in English) is constructed between 1929 and 1932. The current height is 95,8 meters what made this one of the tallest buildings in Antwerp. It is considered to be Europe’s first skyscraper. There were three architects involved in the design of this tower: Emiel Van Averbeke, Jan Vanhoenacker and Jos Smolderen.
The Sint-Annatunnel is the official name of this tunnel, but everyone knows it by the name ‘Voetgangerstunnel’ (pedestrian tunnel). Built between 1931 and 1933 the tunnel connect the left and right bank of the river Scheldt. The entrance buildings designed by Emiel Van Averbeke are typical for the era it was built in.