Art Deco Icons
The Complete Series
Runtime: 110 minutes
Number of disks: 1
DVD region: ALL
Member’s price: $26.96
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Architectural historian David Heathcote takes a fascinating look at the glamourous art deco design movement which arrived in Britain in the 1920s.
Selecting four locations which broke the mould and captured a new egalitarian spirit in design – not merely for their structure but also their romance – David takes us on a historical journey of glamour, luxury, functionality and controversy.
Firstly, he, checks into Claridge’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair exploring the 1930s art deco makeover and shares the experience of a luxurious night in one of the hotel’s suites – complete with personal valet. We are then treated to a detailed look at the London Transport HQ at 55 Broadway, which was the first skyscraper in Britain and became the nerve centre for the art deco transformation of the London Underground.
Casa Del Rio – a remarkable art deco fantasy house hidden away in rural Devon – provides the perfect location for a glimpse at the many deco gadgets that brought glamour into so many people’s lives in the 1930s. And finally, what better than a journey to Venice aboard the famous Orient Express in a perfectly restored sleeping cabin, examining the decadent charm and extraordinary history of the train.
So ask Jeeves to prepare a wondrous cocktail concoction and settle back in a luxurious sofa to experience the delights of the popular and unique art deco design movement.
David Heathcote checks into Claridge’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair. He explores the Art Deco makeover of the 1930s, which transformed the old Victorian hotel into a fashionable destination for the rich and famous. He enjoys the glamour of the Deco fumoir, which made smoking sexy and glamorous – even for women. He samples the cocktail bar with Guy Oliver, the man whose job it is to renovate and restore the glamorous 1930s image of the hotel. Then Heathcote settles into a perfect Art Deco bath complete with glass panels, bubble bath and 2 bell pulls –one for the maid and one for the butler.
David Heathcote explores the dramatic 1930s London Transport HQ in St James’ London. When it was built in the1930s it was the highest skyscraper in London. Heathcote goes behind the scenes and uncovers the story of a building so controversial that Frank Pick, who commissioned it, offered to resign from the London Underground Company, because there were so many complaints about its ambitious design.
The HQ became the nerve centre for an Art Deco transformation of the underground, which remains today. David Heathcote ventures out on the Piccadilly Line to Southgate to investigate. For many it is just a crowded commuter journey to work, but Heathcote discovers a perfect example of a co-ordinated Deco look. The sleek tube station uses streamlined features, soft uplighting and chrome to create a glamorous overall effect. It may be lost on the commuters on their way to work, but for Heathcote it is a moment to stand back and enjoy the marvel that was Art Deco.
Casa Del Rio
David Heathcote goes to spend the weekend at Casa Del Rio - a remarkable Art Deco fantasy house hidden away in rural Devon. He uncovers the story of Walter Price, a baker from Devon who went to visit California in the1930s and who was so impressed by Pickfair – the glamorous residence of Hollywood stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford – that he decided to create his own Deco mansion back in rural Devon, complete with marble staircase built to look like a piano keyboard.
David Heathcote explores the house, which was the perfect glamorous weekend retreat for Price and his friends. He plays with some of the many Deco gadgets that brought glamour into so many people’s lives in the 1930s –a perfect toaster, a Bakelite radio and even a cocktail shaker. The original Pickfair mansion in California was demolished, so Casa del Rio remains as a rare British example of a Deco fantasy house, built at time when Britain was in love with Hollywood, Art Deco and its glamour.
The Orient Express
David Heathcote boards the Orient Express at Victoria Station in London and heads off for Venice. He settles into his perfectly restored sleeping cabin and then explores the decadent charm and the extraordinary history of the train.
He meets James Sherwood the man who bought the Orient Express in the 1970s and who decided to restore the old 1930s carriages to their Art Deco glamour. His wife Shirley Sherwood comments wryly that when she heard that her husband had bought a train "I thought he was mad". But she became charmed by the challenge of restoring the Decorative art and luxury of a romantic train. After enjoying the luxury of the dining compartment David Heathcote retires to his cabin and wakes up as the train chugs through the spectacular Alps. He is then joined by Bevis Hillier, the expert who coined the phrase ‘Art Deco’ and who describes the remarkable spread of Art Deco across the world from its origins at an exhibition in France in 1925.
It's not all luxury, the train has no air conditioning and the washing facilities are a bit basic. So at the end of 32 exhilarating hours immersed in Art Deco, Heathcote steps off the train at Venice and heads for a beer and a shower.