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Baz Luhrmann’s film adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, opening May 10, has ignited a revival of interest in all things Art Deco. The architecture and decor of many hotels around the world reflect this highly coveted, elegant style. Historically, its influence was felt not only in Europe—the name Art Deco derives from a decorative arts exposition held in Paris in 1925—and the United States, but, unexpectedly, in countries as far-flung as India and China.
According to Michael Kinerk, a writer and chairman emeritus of the Miami Design Preservation League, which created Miami Beach’s legendary Art Deco district in 1976, there were three periods of Art Deco: ornate, highly stylized French; Machine Age skyscraper style; and streamlined moderne. The exteriors and interiors of Art Deco hotels reflect all three. More exotic examples include the Umaid Bhawan Palace, built in the desert capital of Jodhpur, India, by a maharaja, and the Fairmont Peace Hotel on the Bund, a stretch of 1930s Art Deco buildings along Shanghai’s Huangpu River.
Interestingly, in recent years some hotels have actually adopted and adapted Art Deco concepts for their own design. One, the Peninsula in Shanghai, which opened in 2009, was inspired by its Art Deco neighbors on the Bund, while another, the Art Deco Hotel Montana, has an interior in a recently renovated grand palace hotel that opened in 1910 on a hill above Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.
Louis Hedgecock, a managing partner at BBG-BBGM, who oversaw his firm’s architectural work at the Peninsula Shanghai, believes Art Deco’s continuing allure comes from people “feeling so much that it’s an expression of a time of glamour, refinement and excitement. If you look at the interior of rooms in Art Deco buildings, they have a gorgeous sense of proportion and scale.”
Whatever the style’s appeal, check out some of its glorious manifestations at hotels in destinations across the globe.