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Art Deco

Art Deco in Architecture

A decorative style of bold geometric shapes and bright colours, it encompassed furniture, textiles, ceramics, sculpture and architecture. The term ‘Arts Decoratifs’ (later shortened to Art Deco in the 1960s) was coined after the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriel Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern and Industrial Decorative Arts) held in Paris in 1925.

The style spread across Europe to the United States and Britain, where it became a favourite for building types associated with the modern age, garages, airports, ocean liners, cinemas, swimming pools, office buildings, department stores, power stations and factories. There were overlaps with Modernism, with the use of clean lines and minimal decoration, but the style also lent itself well to buildings associated with entertainment, providing glamorous interiors for hotels, restaurants and luxury apartments. Lighting and mirrors were often used, with neon strip lighting to emphasise the streamlined nature of the designs and mirrors to enhance and reflect.

Explore images of Art Deco architecture

Search and discover photos and images from the RIBA Collections in our image library. Images are available to download, purchase or license.

Features of Art Deco architecture

Marine Court, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex, RIBA Collections


Henly's car showroom and service station, Great West Road, Brentford, London, Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections

Bold Shapes

Bedroom for a young girl, Ambassade Francaise, Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris 1925, RIBA collections

Geometric Designs

Design for a living room, RIBA Collections

Colour and Decoration

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