Art Deco was a major artistic movement in the 1920’s to 1940’s. Although it was overlooked for decades, attention has come back to it, first in the US, starting with Miami Beach, as well as in Australia and New Zealand (See post Napier Art Deco). In the last ten years, Art Deco has also come back to Europe, including France the original location of the 1925 exposition des Arts Decoratifs. Shanghai Art Deco was celebrated by the 2015 World Congress on Art Deco, with Paris being the location for the 2025 Word Congress, 100 years after the original exhibition.
The rediscovery of Old Shanghai was also a discovery of the Art Deco heritage of the city. As Old Shanghai buildings were uncovered (from add-ons in particular) or restored, they could be classified in various style, with the leading style being Art Deco. The next step was to realize that “unique” Shanghai buildings where unique in Shanghai, but very similar to some in far away places. For a while, I was travelling to various destination, looking for buildings that looked like the Shanghai own, often from the same period. The first post was probably “London recalling“, followed by many trips in Auckland, Sydney, New York, Miami, Paris, Lyon, Budapest, Dijon etc etc. The feeling of Deja Vu was summarized perfectly in ” Deja vu from Paris to Shanghai “, as well as in post “Shanghai flashback“. Although I have reduced travelling for architecture in the last years, friends who lived in Shanghai started to send pictures to me. The latest example, is from Bucharest, from Old Shanghai specialist Peter Hibbard.
The above corner building could fit very well in the streets behind the Bund, or near Hamilton House, Grosvenor house or the corner of Avenue Edward VII and Szechuen Road (today Yanan Dong lu and Sichuan Lu). Just like building in Old Shanghai, and most communist countries, it was poorly maintained after WWI, but I am sure it was originally a very high class building.
Another example of Art Deco / modernist similarities is the above corner building in Bucharest, that is quite similar to some in Shanghai, including the Bearn apartment building in Shanghai, buy French firm LVK.