If you like symmetrical, geometric, and streamlined aesthetics, you’ve certainly heard of Art Deco architecture. Art deco is one of those design trends that defies time and transcends beyond the field of architecture. This 20th century design style encompassed nearly everything, including graphic design. 

But how did we get to this clean, uncluttered look after all the extravagant styles of the previous era, such as Art Nouveau? The yearning and self-assured desire to be free of the past and to embrace the potential of industrial and machine-driven splendour gave rise to the refined and streamlined style known as Art Deco.

Are you intrigued to know more about this design trend? 

We have compiled a list of 15 exceptional buildings from across the world that exhibit art deco style architecture, as well as the fascinating history and nuances of this aesthetic.

What is Art Deco?

Art Deco is a visual arts and architectural style that emerged in the 1920s and became popular in Western Europe and the United States throughout the 1930s. It merged current trends such as Cubism’s powerful geometric forms and Fauvism’s vivid colours with a palette of rich materials. Art Deco architecture is distinguished by its sleek, linear form and stylized, typically geometric decoration.

History of Art Deco Design

To understand the origins of deco art, we must travel to late-nineteenth-century France. The Roaring Twenties were a lavish time when people moved on from traditional virtues and began experiencing life to the fullest. With the influx of machine-made things and industrialism, extravagant parties, sultry jazz clubs, and pubs flourished. 

The ornamental designers of the time employed cutting-edge technology to create new-ageage designs and regularly displayed their work. In fact, the name Art deco name was taken from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was held in Paris in 1925 and was the inaugural exhibition of the style.

Top 15 Glorious Examples of Art Deco Architecture

1. Empire State Building

Empire State Building

This monumental high rise skyscraper must be included in any list of art deco architecture. It merged two of the era’s hottest design trends: steel-framed skyscrapers and art deco design.

The Empire State Structure is a 102-story building in New York City that was built in 1931 and was the highest building in the world until 1971. A massive mural that runs along the lobby ceiling is one of the building’s most eye-catching design elements. It is decorated with 23-karat gold stars, sunbursts, and clockwork that represents a celestial backdrop in classic art deco design.

2. Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

Another magnificent tower that has graced the New York skyline since the 1930s. The Chrysler Building symbolises art deco architecture, with its sky-piercing spire, sleek, metallic adornment projecting from the cityscape, and sumptuous marble- and metal-lined interiors. 

The front is lavishly adorned with streamlined eagle heads and radiator caps with wings. The crown, which is brightly lit at night, remains one of the most distinguishing features of the New York City skyline.

3. Eastern Columbia Building

Eastern Columbia Building

This old department store headquarters is regarded as Los Angeles’ greatest example of Art Deco architecture. It is famous around the world for its sublime architectural beauty, including the teal terra cotta and gold leaf tiling, golden entrances, and zigzag detailing. 

With its four-sided clock tower, the 13-story tower was the showpiece of the Los Angeles skyline for years. The Eastern Columbia Building’s colours signify vitality and richness, as well as the glorious days of eccentricity and opulent lifestyle.

4. Cincinnati Union Terminal

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Cincinnati features the largest half-dome in the western world and is one of the world’s most treasured examples of Art Deco architecture. It is also known as one of the last great American railway stations to be built with about 20 separate lines. 

The massive rotunda and soaring arching facade have captivated visitors since its inception. It was groundbreaking in that it combined many of the activities that made downtown Cincinnati so vibrant in the late 1920s, like arcades and department stores. It is now home to three museums, a theatre, and the Cincinnati History Library and Archives.

5. Colony Hotel

Colony Hotel

The Colony Hotel exemplifies art deco architecture as an integral aspect of Miami Beach’s character. One of the first structures constructed during the Art Deco revival that resurrected Miami Beach following the devastating hurricane was The Colony, which was designed in 1935.

The exterior is simple and symmetrical, with striking geometric motifs. An inverted “T” with the hotel’s name and horizontal brows that dangle over the windows to provide extra shade for guests while they watch tourists frolicking in the sun.

6. Chicago Board of Trade Building

Chicago Board of Trade Building

This renowned landmark is likely to come to mind whenever you think about Chicago. The Chicago Board of Trade Building was the tallest building in Chicago until 1965, and it still dominates the city’s skyline today. 

The ornamentation on the building contrasts sharply with the sleek geometry of the structure’s design to create a strong focus. Several art deco elements, such as Indiana limestone piers, dark skylights, and spandrels, make this edifice a magnificent example of art deco architecture.

7. Guardian Building

Guardian Building

The Guardian Building is one of the world’s most daring and eye-catching art deco buildings. Both the inside and outside of the building feature a wealth of exquisite period elements that set it apart from the rest of the Detroit skyline. 

The larger north tower and smaller octagonal south tower are linked by a nave-like block akin to a cathedral’s layout. This modern take on classical architecture is complemented by deco art elements like mosaics, murals, stained glass, and so on.

8. Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Art deco architecture is not just seen in commercial and residential structures. The observatory is one of California’s most recognisable and iconic sights, because to its unusual site, Art Deco construction, and magnificent views of the Los Angeles Basin.

Its profile is defined by the enormous dome of the central planetarium, which is flanked by two smaller domes. To create this gorgeous masterpiece, the design seamlessly combines art deco style with Graco-romanian inspirations.

9. Folies Bergere

Folies Bergere

Folies Bergere, located in Paris, the cradle of the art deco movement, is a spectacular representation of symbolic architecture with captivating beauty. The most noticeable aspect of this art deco style monument is the stunning plaque artwork of the dancing lady in the facade. 

Classic art deco typefaces depicting the name Folies Bergere is another highlight of the clean and sleek facade. The institution is still in operation and serves as a powerful icon of French and Parisian life.

10. Yangtze Boutique Hotel

Yangtze Boutique Hotel

With the onset of the 1930s, art deco architecture began to expand to the distant corners of the world. This historic Shanghai treasure swiftly established itself as the third-largest hotel in the far east. 

Aside from the cream colour and symmetrical form, the building received special attention for the bright zigzag pattern that characterised its trademark decorative balconies. The interiors include a three-story dance hall that is well-known for its boisterous jazz music.

11. Niagara Mohawk Building

Niagara Mohawk Building

Due to its unusual facade’s rhythmic patterns, this New York skyscraper resembles art deco design in an abstract way. It was intended to be a Cathedral of light when it was built as the headquarters of the Niagara Hudson Electric Company.

The entire facade is constructed of gleaming steel and aluminium, with glass encircling it and fluted masonry. The outside elements are all built of gleaming aluminium and steel, with surrounding glass and scalloped masonry.

12. Soona Mahal

Soona Mahal

Indian architecture, specifically in Mumbai, was fast to adapt the streamlined aesthetics of the art deco style. Soona Mahal is one of Mumbai’s greatest specimens of art deco architecture.

It is part of the Art Deco complex, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bright apartment is topped by a flat terrace and a circular viewing gallery, creating a one-of-a-kind, sociable area for its tenants.

13. Hoover Building

Hoover Building

This incredible Art Deco old factory was built for The Hoover Company in London and has been renovated into 66 luxurious studio flats. The manufacturer used not just conventional art deco geometric patterns, but also brilliant and vibrant colours and Aztec and Mayan-inspired themes. 

Uniquely carved openings in diverse geometric patterns and vibrant green and maroon colours enhance the arching white facade.

14. American Radiator Building

American Radiator Building

What could be more extravagant than a sleek black skyscraper with gold accents?

The black brick on the façade of the American Radiator Building represents coal and gives the building a strong bulk. Other elements of the facade were coated in gold bricks to represent fire, and the entrance was adorned with marble and black mirrors. This unusual structure effortlessly combines art deco style with gothic construction.

15. Palmolive Building

Palmolive Building

This office building, built for one of the world’s largest soap makers, is one of the country’s best art deco style set-back skyscrapers, the design of which was dictated by municipal zoning restrictions.

The structure is well-known for its dramatic stepped design. Buildings like these, with their cliff-like setbacks and industrial visuals, exemplify the roaring 20s’ splendour, energy, and optimism.

Let Us Relive the Roaring Twenties Through Exemplary Art Deco Architecture!

Since its inception, Art Deco architecture has conveyed a feeling of grandeur and sleekness. It has spread to every part of the world in all types of buildings. Even today, you may see traces of this architecture in New York and Chicago skyscrapers, Miami and Mumbai beachfront, and other classic metropolitan settings.


1. What Are the Characteristics of Art Deco?

Art Deco architecture typically have basic, clean shapes, generally with a streamlined appearance; geometrical adornment from figurative forms such as flowers, fauna, and cosmos.

2. What Colours Define the Art Deco Aesthetic?

Bright and vivid yellows, shades of red, greens, turquoise, and pinks were popular colours at the time.

3. What Was the Purpose of Art Deco?

The goal of Art Deco was to produce a sleek, anti-traditional elegance that represented wealth and refinement.

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