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A Bit of Art Deco Touring

A short couple of walks around my home town long after I first compiled this site demonstrated how much there is that I still don't know about. I don't make great claims for
these two buildings on Holdenhurst Road, one clearly a former cinema, but they're fun nevertheless:

Holdenhurst Road
Holdenhurst Road
Braidley Road houseAnd in Braidley Road we found this  striking house. It even has a gate with a Deco sunburst:Art Deco gate
Two town centre businesses heavily market their Art Deco chic. The first is The Print Room & Ink Bar, a bar and restaurant based in the former Evening Echo newspaper offices on Richmond Hill. The building dates from 1934 and is one of the most startling and dramatic structures in the town centre. The Echo moved out in 1997 and the offices were unoccupied for ten years until their complete refurbishment in 2007 by London-based architects David Archer. We like the way that they've retained not just the building, but the Echo signs and the clock jutting out over Richmond Hill. The Ink Bar occupies the old reception area, and the Print Room, well, the printing room. Print Room, Bournemouth
Print Room entranceInk Bar interiorPrint Room hall
Just so you know that you've come in the right door.
Print Room interiorPrint Room interiorIt's a strange experience eating where the presses would have wheeled and thumped, pounding out Bournemouth's news day by day for sixty years. The emptiness and space was a bit daunting at first - it almost looked too beautiful to disturb - but we swiftly conquered any lingering reluctance! Service was good and the food scrumptious, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Clearly there isn't a great deal original in the restaurant, because there wasn't much to start with - just the steel door and window frames now picked out in black. The pink-red strip lights defuse what could otherwise be an intimidatingly chilly contrast of black and white.
The other Deco-promoting
business is the
Cumberland Hotel on East Overcliff Drive.
Cumberland Hotel
Cumberland HotelCumberland Hotel
The dramatic entrance lobby with the CH cypher laid (very confidently) into the floor.
Cumberland HotelVery appropriately Deco carpet, but we're not sure about some of the furniture. I can certainly imagine a '30s designer insisting on zebra for a chair, but not then sticking it on a faux-18th century frame!Cumberland Hotel
Cumberland HotelNow, both these buildings are enormous fun, and we enjoyed visiting them. It's wonderful that these two businesses have chosen to trade so consciously on their Art Deco history and architecture. It's particularly interesting to see the way popular culture interprets Deco. It comes to mean, in the early twenty-first century visual imagination, striking colour contrasts (especially of black and white, and occasionally red), geometry, and, very prominently, mirrors. Virtually everything can be mirrored. Lifts are mirrored; picture frames are mirrored; even a dirty great flat-screen TV can be mirrored. It's fine; but it's slightly limiting for a genre that was anything but limited. Nevertheless, both these sites are a pleasant, bold change from the usual fare.

Find out more here:    
Print Room website
Cumberland Hotel website (actually this doesn't tell you a great deal - and boasts some exceptionally objectionable intro musak)
Further Along the Coast - the Riviera Hotel, Weymouth, January 2009
The Riviera dominates Bowleaze Cove to the east of the town, and south of Preston. It sits dramatically atop the cliff and you can't help thinking that such a building wouldn't get anywhere near being built nowadays. No such worries in 1937. The structure looked a little weary close up, but we understand was due to be refurbished thanks to the presence of the Olympics in Weymouth in 2012. Nothing very Deco seems to survive inside, but the exterior is exciting enough. I can't discover who the architect was - Pevsner managed not to notice it!
The Riviera Hotel, WeymouthThe Riviera Hotel, Weymouth

A bit of a tour of Dorset Deco
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