Art Deco Building Interior Elements

Art Deco is first and foremost a decorative style and only subordinately an architectural one. Its crisp, reduced to essence shapes and motifs are inspired from the era of efficient mechanical production-line industries that emerged after the Great War. The recognisable angular, repetitive patterns and other abstractions characteristic of this style were also adapted for the building interiors, for elements such as tiles, window frames, stair balustrades or lift shafts.

Bucharest has been the setting of one of the most interesting Art Deco developments in visual arts and architecture. That was possible within a prosperous economic environment as the capital of one of the victorious countries after the WWI, massively benefiting from the revenues generated by the country’s large oil exports (Romania in the inter-war period was one of the main oil producers). The city, even today, after five decades of communism and twenty years of chaotic post-communist transition, is still adorned by many Art Deco buildings and ornaments.

I gathered here a few photographs of interior Art Deco elements that speak volumes about that phase in the urban evolution of Bucharest. The first picture shows a remarkable multicoloured floor mosaic made from rounded square cut rocks embellishing a kitchen located in a late 1920s block of flats in Calea Victoriei area.


Art Deco floor mosaic
Art Deco kitchen floor mosaic from a late 1920s apartment in Calea Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much like the simple, but exquisite mosaic pattern that models a garish rag rug, which was normally used in c19th or country houses to cover the kitchen floor. The artist ingeniously transposed that practical artefact in an Art Deco matrix, achieving a remarkable visual effect.

Next are examples of ceramic tiles covering staircase walls, decorated with interesting Art Deco motifs in an excellent choice of fresh colour combination.


Art Deco ceramic tiles
Art Deco staircase ceramic tiles, early 1930s block of flats in Gara de Nord area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)
Art Deco ceramic tiles
Art Deco staircase ceramic tiles, late 1920s block of flats in Izvor Nord area, Bucharest ©Valentin Mandache)

And finally, here are examples of Art Deco style staircase windows and the lift shaft ironwork.


Art Deco staircase
Art Deco staircase windows, early 1930s block of flats M. Vulcanescu area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)
Art Deco lift shaft ironwork
Art Deco lift shaft ironwork, early 1930s block of flats in M. Vulcanescu area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The interior decorative elements presented above are just another argument that the Art Deco heritage of Bucharest is still surprisingly rich, has not lost its capacity to surprise and fully deserves to be thoroughly studied and preserved.


If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

3 thoughts on “Art Deco Building Interior Elements

  • Many thanks for these photos.

    Interiors are more difficult to inspect and photograph than exteriors because
    a] they are, by definition, in private space and not in the open street and
    b] they are easier and cheaper for the householder to modernise.

    The ceramic tiles, ironwork on the staircase and the windows are lovely and seem to be perfectly intact. Well done!


    • Thank you for your comment Helen! Indeed is difficult to view and photograph Art Deco interiors and the point (b) in your message regarding the obliteration of the original interiors trough renovations is the main issue for Bucharest, which despite its size of nearly 3 million inhabitants, has a relatively limited housing stock that is continuously affected by extensions and modernisations.



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