Admiring Art Deco Architecture in Singapore

The presence of Art Deco architecture in Singapore is somewhat elusive to most of us, largely because unlike many other traditional shophouses and buildings, Art Deco is represented by a Streamlined Modern style, almost minimalist perhaps, that may be hard to distinguish from present day architecture.

The Kwong Soon & Co Art Deco shophouse along Cavan Road is probably one of the largest of its kind in Singapore. Other notable places where Art Deco shophouses can be found towards the East of Singapore in areas like Geyland and Joo Chiat

The Kwong Soon & Co Art Deco shophouse along Cavan Road is probably one of the largest of its kind in Singapore. Other notable places where Art Deco shophouses can be found towards the East of Singapore in areas like Geyland and Joo Chiat

The Art Deco movement largely came about in the post World War I era, in a decade of hope and excitement between the 1920s and early 1930s, where motorcars, airplanes and even Broadway were changing the way people saw the future of the world.

Many of the Art Deco features in buildings here have a machine-esque aesthetic, constructed and inspired by the many streamlined modern marvels such as airplanes and racing cars. Gone were the traditional motifs and ornamentations, and in its place were symmetrically aligned windows, overlaying balcony arches with railings, and most distinctive of all, a strategically placed plaque that bore the date of the building’s construction topped off with an extended pole in the middle.

Art Deco inspired apartments/shophouses are still well conserved in Tiong Bahru

Art Deco inspired apartments/shophouses are still well conserved in Tiong Bahru

Historically, many of us would have stepped into an Art Deco building without actually realising it. From the good old cinemas of Cathay, Rex and Capitol, to landmarks like Clifford Pier and the Fullerton Hotel, Art Deco is also prevalent in the lives of individuals both past and present, through numerous shophouses around the island as well as housing units like the ones in Tiong Bahru.

The former Capitol Building is just one of the many landmarks that were built in the mould of Art Deco Architecture. Image taken from SINGAPORE TOURIST PROMOTION BOARD (STPB)

The former Capitol Building is just one of the many landmarks that were built in the mould of Art Deco Architecture. Image taken from SINGAPORE TOURIST PROMOTION BOARD (STPB)

The full length of the Kwong Soon & Co shophouse in Cavan Road

The full length of the Kwong Soon & Co shophouse in Cavan Road

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 5 Jun 2014 | The Singapore Daily

  2. Pingback: CS8090 Individual Assignment | cinemaofthepast

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