Thursday, January 21, 2010

Western Avenue, London

Perivalediction (3)

As a final footnote to my Art Deco encounters on London’s Western Avenue, here’s a detail of the building just across the adjacent road junction from the Hoover Factory. It’s a bank and row of shops, clad in this white and green tile and probably put up around the same time as the factory. No doubt the original shops were used by the Hoover workers as well as by the residents of the many new houses built in this area at around this time.

Here we have the vocabulary of Art Deco, the green and white colour scheme, the white cladding, the little bursts of ornament – plus some eccentric extras like the unusual window frames, which are a far cry from the sleek metal-framed windows of the Hoover Factory. It’s all used to much more modest ends, a small tribute to the monster factory nearby showing how this kind of decoration can work on a smaller scale. It’s easy to miss in the shadow of its neighbour, but satisfying to find.


Hels said...

What did green and white represent in Deco colour schemes? Do we have any other surviving examples of green and white that you can think of?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Hels: Good question - I'm not sure of the answer! I've come across a few examples of Deco/moderne houses in green and white, and some of these houses also have green roof tiles, which were popular in the 1930s and which lent themselves to a colour scheme of white walls and green window frames. Most of the Deco public buildings I know (cinemas, factories, office blocks, hotels) tend to be mainly white, with flashes of strong colour. But, outside the realm of Deco, quite a few traditional food shops - especially butchers and fishmongers, were covered with white and green tiles, and I wonder if there was a link - subliminal maybe - with hygiene and cleanliness.

Peter Ashley said...

This is an interesting debate. I wonder if the use of green was a link to the surrounding countryside that often surrounded these buildings when they were first built. A kind of softener after all that clinical white. Louis de Soissons' Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn Garden City comes to mind.