Art deco style, which flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, showcased the optimism of the Jazz Age era and its love of the modern, with its flowing, curvy lines and geometric patterns. Since then, its architecture has become one of the most coveted styles, valued for its elegance and design quality.
France and Belgium have many art deco homes, as both countries were hotbeds of creative talent at that time. Much of that architectural legacy remains, as this list attests. It includes a curving, monochrome villa in parkland in Jette, Brussels, and a hillside mansion in the heights of glam Cannes, France, with marble mosaics and glittering sea views.
Californie villa overlooking the Bay of Cannes, France
Six bedrooms; €10m via Patrice Besse
Brimming with hillside villas, shady palms, and preserved green spaces, Californie in ritzy Cannes is brimming with hillside villas, shady palm trees and pretty green spaces. This 1927 house was conceived as a belvedere –a summer house with a fine view – and built in art deco style. Large windows capture cinematic views of the glittering Bay of Cannes while its form channels the spirit of golden-age Cote d’Azur.
Inside, newly renovated rooms are replete with oak parquet, wrought iron detailing, and marble mosaic flooring. Soft, ice cream-like curves flow across its facades together with a graphic frieze consolidating its modernist design. Other perks include tiered Mediterranean gardens, while the famous shopping and party haven, la Croisette, is a short walk away.
Titeca Park villa in Brussels, Belgium
Five bedrooms; €3.95m Barnes International Realty
Set within a private 23-acre wooded park, this characterful monochrome villa on the edge of Brussels is the embodiment of art deco streamline moderne style, with its projecting smooth curves. The cruiseliner-like property was built in 1937 and has big curving windows that bow round to capture the greenery of its grounds (named Titeca Park), crafted wood and metal elements, and a raised terrace like the deck of a ship.
Heightening the look inside are circular light fittings, circular brass door handle plates and sweeping interior arches between rooms. A cracked tile and mosaic artwork spreads across the reception floor, and there’s also a rundown art deco pool that needs a revamp.
Villa Les Iris in Brussels, Belgium
Seven bedrooms; €1.98m via Brussels Sotheby’s International Realty
Built in 1898 by architect Jules Barbier, Villa Les Iris is a museum-like, art nouveau townhouse in Brussels, with an art deco style street façade that was added in 1924. The six-bedroom property is like a jewellery box, with its artisanal coloured glass accents and curving marble fireplaces.
Its main room has a full-length bay corner window furnished as a dining area. The grand property is near Parc du Cinquantenaire in Etterbeek and plays on the natural theme with its sage green and cream colour scheme and potted greenery. An array of art nouveau stained glass depicts flowers and leaves.
A zig-zagging Ghent townhouse, Belgium
Five bedrooms; €900,000 via Brabant Sotheby’s International Realty
Art deco style is everywhere in this geometric-fronted townhouse in Ghent, right down to the smallest details, including its radiator covers and bathroom light fittings. The home was built in 1928 and has pale woody backdrops accented with flashes of red, peach, pale green and forest green. Its façade can’t be missed thanks to zigzagging peaks, windows and wall motifs.
Inside is a plethora of stained-glass doors, geometric doorways, and a curving, tiled fireplace with Bauhaus influences in the main living room. Although it’s undergone some work (including new double-glazed windows, gas boiler and roof and restored facades), it needs finishing off and its garden taming.
A cubist villa in Parc Sceaux, Paris
Four bedrooms; €1.95m via Architecture de Collection
Appearing like a cubist sculpture, this whitewashed villa was designed in 1939 by architects Charles Halley and André Lurçat, six miles from central Paris, in the suburb of Sceaux. It has a distinctive garden-facing façade formed of a large curving window. Inside this rounded space is a double-height reception area, overlooked by a galleried landing, which, when seen together, creates a perfect circle.
Other outstanding features include a swirling stone staircase, steel-framed glass walls, a curved balcony atop its bow window, arched doorways and curved staircase balustrades.