Whenever I hear the words ‘Art Deco’, my mind conjures
Great Gatsby girls swishing in flapper dresses and beads, bee stung lips
clasping long elegant cigarette holders and jazz music inviting feet to
dance glamourously in low heels.
There’s another side to the 1920’s & 1930’s that
is slightly more permanent – the grand curves and boxy clean lines of
soaring architecture – iconic cinemas, oceanliner inspired
office buildings and curious reliefs of archetypal characters. And yet we often
just walk on by with our eyes on our phone screens… (I am SO guilty.)
In London, this is where my tour guide friend (and often mischief-in-cake comrade) Yannick comes in rather handy. Instead of intending to look up the history in dusty old books which never happens, I love being able to turn up on a weekend afternoon at a central meeting point and be taken on an architectural journey with an nicely sized, small group of fellow enthusiasts. (I’m clearly biased, but with more than 5 of Yannick’s tours under my belt, I wouldn’t keep returning if they weren’t interesting. Weekend hours are precious much like unicorn tears…)
I’m going to quote myself when I say that Yannick is so thoroughly entertaining and knowledgeable (and effortlessly controls mischevious Kiwis) that hours pass
by without a second thought. Snaking our way through beautiful
streets, whilst being treated to his incredible area
knowledge is delightful. We laugh, we learn, we discover secret nooks and crannies.
I have now been treated to 3 different Art Deco tours – walking the fascinating streets of Bloomsbury, striding through The Strand and most recently a journey through the West End. I’ve lived in London for nearly a decade now, and he still manages to find details that surprise me.
On our most recent inaugural walk though London’s West End, we discovered the roots and history of iconic cinemas, the best secretly preserved deco (that’s what us addicts call the architectural design period for shot) interior in central London and a slightly misnomered office block. Call it architect’s license if you will…
If you don’t believe about Yannick’s enthusiasm and knowlege just check out this guest post he wrote for me a couple of years ago on the Victoria and Albert Museum Ceramic Galleries. See, there.
Walks like these remind me of why I love London – you can walk
down a street every single day and forget to look up and admire the
cityscape for the stories and history.
Pssst. Yannick also does a rather scrumptious Macaron and Mews tour (and doesn’t mind walkers who insist on calling Macaron, Macaroons), a perfect Picadilly and Petit Fours walk and a Matcha ramble for those that way inclined – check out his tour dates here…