Friday, September 16, 2011

Tragic loss of Moderne high school in British Columbia

The 1948 Streamlined Moderne style Southern Okanagan Secondary School, located in Oliver, B.C., was consumed by fire on Monday, Sept. 12. 

The school had been undergoing a $29-million renovation, and while the new gymnasium, science laboratory and cafeteria were saved, the south and east wings were destroyed, as was the cherished and historic auditorium.

Thanks to Robert Hill, author of the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800–1950, for passing along that the school was designed by Theo Korner and Harry W.  Postle in 1945–46.

For news story links, visit The Globe and Mail, Wikipedia, or Google the school's name. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Step out in Hollywood on Sept. 24!

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles is launching a brand-new walking tour of Hollywood Boulevard.

For details, visit:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Discover the life story of Italian illustrator Paolo Garretto

If you love Deco-style illustration, then you should check out this two-part article by design blogger Steven Heller that tells the life story of Italian illustrator Paolo Garretto (1903-1989). Part one is here, part two is here.

Heller notes that Garretto's "airbrushed caricature epitomized Deco styling. During the Twenties and Thirties he was a master of international advertising design and editorial art, as inventive as A.M. Cassandre, as prolific as Jean Carlu, as witty as Miguel Covarrubias. His geometric conceits captured the romance of the industrial age.

Garretto's graphic approach was based on simplification of primary graphic forms into iconic depictions and loose, but poignant likenesses. Vibrant, airbrushed color was his trademark, and he also experimented with different media to create exciting new form, including experiments with collage and modeling clay which proved fruitful. Without his superb draftsmanship what is now pigeon-holed as Deco styling would surely have been a superficial conceit, but his conceptual work was so acute, and his decorative work was so well crafted that he eschewed these pitfalls.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Shoot-em-up digital Deco

Okay, so you may not be into video games, especially M (Mature) rated ones that are rather violent.

But if you like the Art Deco aesthetic, then you might enjoy looking over the shoulder of someone playing the video game BioShock.

You'll find some elegant geometric-patterned wall panels, and plenty of multiple-plane detailing on columns and trim.

It's just one more example of how the Art Deco style has permeated popular culture!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Deco drives artwork of 1927 car parts catalogue cover

Even thought the illustrations within this 1927 Parisian motor parts catalogue are crisp and free of decoration, the front cover certainly reflects its time and place in design history.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

You've got (Art Deco) mail!

Canada Post has released the designs for a series of five postage stamps, to go on sale June 9, that feature five Art Deco structures from across Canada.

Stamp designer Ivan Novotny of Taylor | Sprules says: “Many of the great (Art) Deco buildings across this country have very distinct silhouettes that were defined by the principles of the movement. It’s the commonly overlooked extraordinary details that adorn these great spires that demand a closer look.”

The five buildings featured in the series are:
  • MONTREAL: Cormier House – Ernest Cormier (architect and engineer); 1930–31
  •  OTTAWA: Supreme Court of Canada – Ernest Cormier (architect and engineer); 1939
  • TORONTO: The R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant – Thomas C. Pomphrey (designer, of engineering firm Gore, Nasmith and Storrie); initial phase designed 1932–1937 and opened 1941
  • REGINA: Dominion Building – Reilly and Portnall (architects), 1935–37
  • VANCOUVER: Burrard Bridge – George Lister Thornton Sharp (architect), 1930–32

If I was asked to add five buildings to turn this into a top-ten list, I would recommend:
  • QUEBEC CITY: Price Building – Ross and MacDonald, 1929–30
  • TORONTO: Garden Court Apartments – Page and Steele, 1939–42
  • CALGARY: (former) Bank of Nova Scotia (Eighth Avenue West) – John M. Lyle, 1929
  • VANCOUVER: Marine Building – McCarter and Nairne, 1929–1930
  • VANCOUVER: Vogue Theatre – Kaplan and Sprachman, 1940–41

What great Canadian Deco buildings would YOU add to the list?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Check out this dozen Toronto Deco photos!

A brief profile of the Art Deco Architecture in Toronto book has just been published in Canada's History magazine that features a dozen photos of Tim Morawetz's favourite Deco buildings in the city.

These are just some of the 70-odd buildings featured in the book.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

News from Miami Beach

As you'll see in the Miami Design Preservation League's February 2011 newsletter, the advocacy campaign to protect the historic district's vacant windows from being used for ad space was successful. Also, read about the various activities that made the city's Art Deco Weekend such a great event.

(Miami Beach is the birthplace of the International Congress of Art Deco Societies, the governing body that's responsible for overseeing the bi-annual World Congress on Art Deco® -- the ultimate experience for Deco aficionados. The next one is being held in Rio de Janiero in August 2011.)

Miami Beach, Florida and Napier, New Zealand are two communities that have very effectively leveraged their Art Deco heritage and created ongoing events that celebrate their cultural value while also fostering economic activity!

Friday, January 28, 2011

URGENT: Help stop the defacement of Miami Beach's Art Deco district!

The Miami Design Preservation League is encouraging Deco-lovers and others to make their voice heard and help persuade the Miami Beach City Commission NOT to liberalize its proven sign laws at a committee meeting on Monday, Jan. 31.

If the laws are weakened, Miami Beach could soon have full-sized advertising signage in empty store windows, and potentially allow for roof-top billboards – the scourge of so many other cities.

If you feel strongly about preserving the character of this unique historic district, please click here and send a email to the Mayor and Commissioners.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How Deco helped sell glamour and style

The weekend of January 14 to 16, 2011 is the annual Art Deco Weekend in Miami Beach, Florida, and the theme this year is Selling Glamour & Style.

As usual, the weekend includes a lecture series (highlighting the influences of the Art Deco era on the modern marketing machine),guided historical walking tours, a couture fashion show, furniture exhibit, film series, weekend drive parade and classic car fest.

Click here for details.