Interiors: Art Deco's Passion and Craftsmanship

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), September 23, 2004 | Go to article overview

Interiors: Art Deco's Passion and Craftsmanship


Byline: Colin McAllistair & Justin Ryan

ZUT Alors! We've been planning to write about European Art Deco for some time but having just returned from Paris we've found the perfect opportunity.

Our Gallic adventure started with the decision to have a quick break after a busy filming period which culminated with the closing ceremony of Pebble Mill. Yup, the grand old lady of British Broadcasting is moving to Birmingham's Mailbox and several hundred friends and faces from both sides of the camera had a knees-up to mark the end of an era. It was a joyous occasion tinged with a little sadness but things move on . . . . .

Anyway, with Pebble Mill hangovers fading, we booked a Paris mini break to catch the last summer rays.

On arrival, we chanced upon a chic French taxi driver called Annie. Striking up instant rapport we took her mobile number and she became our personal driver for the duration of the adventure. Before delivering us to our fabulous hotel (cue the Art Deco, more of that later. . ) Annie took us on an evening drive around Paris and showed us all manner of familiar attractions. One, however, has changed somewhat since our last visit and its current beauty would bring tears to even the worldliest traveller; the Eiffel Tower. Now encrusted with thousands of purest white fairy lights it's quite literally staggering as it twinkles against the romantic skyline. One of the world's most beautiful structures just got more beautiful.

But we digress. Because train travel saved so much cash, we decided to splash out on a fab hotel. When our taxi (sorry, personal chauffeuse!) pulled up outside the Arc De Triomphe Hilton you could have knocked us down with a feather. Walking into the commodious hallway we were met by a sea of Art Deco, a shimmering pool of high glamour that looked like it had been there since the early 1900s. In fact the whole ``historical'' scene was only created several months back. Often, when something new tries to appear original, it ends up looking more like a Disney interpretation of times gone by than ``le vrai chose''. Not so this Art Deco gem. Created by celebrated French designers Jacques Garcia and Alexandre Danan in collaboration with more than 100 talented artisans the results are staggering. In the same way as a master couturier might envisage the minutiae of every detail as an essential component of the whole this breathtaking project comes together as the sum of its beautiful parts. A tribute to luxurious transatlantic liners, the design echoes the decorative arts that were popular inAmerican cities such as Chicago or New York and of course throughout Europe.

We always say making a good first impression is important when establishing a strong look and in the same way you'd want your hallway -- whatever its size-- to make a bold statement, so too does the masterful art deco entrance here. With 13 metre high velvet drapes wrapping around a monumental sweeping staircase and a massive glass ceiling above, the ocean liner feel hits hard from the second you berth at reception. The red velvet tub chairs are exact Art Deco replicas and you can buy similar options by visiting frenzy while an orchestra played in the background? Even the carpet is a work of art inspired as it is by Ruhlmann's Hotel du Collectionneur, which was showcased at the Decorative Arts Exhibition in 1925. To get more info on home styling from this period, we'd recommend Art Deco Furniture by Alastair Duncan (Thames and Hudson, pounds 16. 95) which will completely put you in the mood. We found our copy at a second hand book fair some time ago but it's still in print and you can get it on line at www. …

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