To occupy the curious minds of her children, my mother showered us with the bulky volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica. A significant portion of my day was spent on browsing the monochromatic pages of these informative volumes.
You see, we did not have the luxury of wikipedia.org back then. I became familiar with the dynamic wealth of knowledge in various subjects. If you owned one, you probably stumbled upon the intriguing “Art Deco”.
The Art Deco movement began in the Roaring Twenties (1920’s) and was fully developed during the Thirties (1930’s). Its distinct name was derived from the Parisian exhibition entitled “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes”.
The style was first displayed here, in 1925. The style represents modernism transformed into the alluring fashion. Its distinguishing features were geometric ornaments, clean shapes, representational forms, and often expensive materials. It gave off a unique appeal that held a special place in history.
A Rainbow After The Rain
Napier holds over a hundred of Art Deco buildings in its area. Napier is a coastal city on New Zealand’s North Island. The integration of the historical architecture was initially unintentional.
It all started with one of the most devastating natural disasters in the country – the Hawke’s Bay earthquake. In 1931, Napier was struck by a massive earthquake measuring to 7.8 on the Richter scale. 256 people lost their lives that day and there were a few lucky survivors.
Another glistening silver lining in this circumstance was the opportunity of rebuilding the town from scratch. The Art Deco age offered chrome, neon, and other shiny materials. Downtown Napier was quickly rebuilt using the vibrant and confidence-raising style of Art Deco.
You can see this style in various parts of the world. However, Napier stands out due its concentration of buildings decked in this striking style.
One That Napier Can Trust
Art Deco Trust is the organization that leads in preserving, protecting, and restoring Napier’s heritage for a period spanning over 30 years. It arranges the guided walks and bus tours for tourists.
You shall look for them when you come to this part of New Zealand. The price of the guided walks range from NZD 19-21 (about AUD 18-20). While, the vehicular tours range from NZD 45 to NZD 195 (about AUD 42-182).
According to the organization, the city boasts with 147 Art Deco buildings. These buildings were infused with the designs of the Egyptian, Mayan, and Maori culture.
Many of these buildings were repainted to cheery pastels and restored to its historical beauty. The tour showcases the thriving 1938 Municipal Theatre, which has its original neon fittings and original chrome.
The 2017 Tremains Art Deco Festival
Napier’s consistent efforts to annually celebrate the Art Deco Festival is truly admirable. During five magical days, the town seeks to transport you back to this bygone era.
You will get to savor Hawke Bay’s regional specialties in food and beverages, enjoy the soothing Deco music, dance with new friends, and relive the incredible heritage that Napier is proud of.
This year’s event was held from February 15 to 17. Take a peek at the festivities last year!