Deco Delights

The Art Deco movement dominated the period between the two world wars. It first appeared in France in the 1920s and spread internationally until the Second World War. The style expressed a time of rapid industrialisation and technological development. It was the epitome of the modern.

Art Deco architecture and design appeared in buildings, art, fashion and film. It features geometric shapes, clean, smooth lines, and often bold colours. It emphasises symmetry.

Famous American Art Deco buildings of the time include New York's Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, and the Rockfeller Center.

In Adelaide, many new buildings were built and a number of existing buildings were remodelled in the style.

This trail includes examples of the Art Deco period architecture you can still see in the city.

National War Memorial

A city memorial to those who fought in the First World War was first discussed in 1919. Architecture firm Woods, Bagot, Jory and Laybourne Smith won a competition with their design, The Spirit of Sacrifice. The firm worked with Sydney sculptor Rayner…

Kelvin House

Kelvin House is the first tall building in Adelaide to include the Art Deco style. It was built between 1925-1926 as an office for the Adelaide Electric Supply Company Limited. The company moved here from its former headquarters on the corner of…

West's Theatre

West's Olympia Cyclorama was Adelaide's first permanent theatre. It opened on this site on 5 December 1908. The building once housed a skating rink. In 1939 the theatre's owner, T.J. West, decided to knock it down and build a modern one in its…

Sands and McDougall Building

The facades of several city buildings were dramatically modernised between the two world wars. One was Sands and McDougall's South Australian headquarters on King William Street. John Sands and his brother-in-law Thomas Kenny formed a printing…

Laubman and Pank

Carl Laubman and Harold Pank opened a small optometry business in 1908 in Victoria Square. By the 1930s, it had become the largest retail optical business in Australia. In 1934 the partners bought a building in Gawler Place formerly occupied by…

A Syngagogue for the City

It is easy to miss this quiet side street adjacent to the bustling retail precinct of Rundle Street. However, its name hints at its once important place within South Australia’s Jewish community.Just over a decade after South Australia was founded,…