The 5 Best Glasgow Art Deco
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Art Deco is a design style in architecture, decorative arts and furniture, that originated in the 1920s and developed into a major style in western Europe and the United States during the 1930s.

It first appeared in France after the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) was held in Paris in 1925.

Art Deco is characterised by its geometric elements and represents modernism turned into fashion, with its simple, clean shapes, relative simplicity, symmetry, and unvaried repetition of elements.

These decades were not a good time for new architecture in Glasgow, with its industry in depression and severe unemployment, and the movement had little impact.

But this style highlighted buildings designed to be fashionable and draw people in for entertainment purposes as cinemas, dance halls or roadhouses. Many of them have been left to a decay or torn down, but our city maintains some beautiful Art Deco gems.

Admire the Beresford Bulding

BERESFORD BUILDING | 2018 Art Deco Gold Winner

The Beresford is an ex-hotel designed by architect William Beresford Inglis of Weddell & Inglis. It opened in 1938 to provide accommodation for those attending the city’s Empire Exhibition. It was described as Glasgow’s first skyscraper because it was the tallest building erected in Glasgow between the wars.

The building became a rendezvous for American servicemen during the Second World War. It was later an office block, and in 1964 The University of Strathclyde acquired it for student accommodation, renaming it Baird Hall. It was finally sold in 2003 and is now divided into 112 privately owned flats. Being a B-listed building, the interiors have been beautifully preserved.

Pin  Glasgow’s first skyscraper.

Enjoy the Glasgow Film Theatre (GTF)

GLASGOW FILM THEATRE | 2018 Art Deco Silver Winner

Designed by local architects James McKissack and WJ Anderson II, was opened in 1939. The Cosmo was the last cinema to open in the city centre before the start of the Second World War.

Originally holding 850 people and a single screen, its name was an abbreviation of “cosmopolitan”, which indicated its policy of bringing foreign language films to Glasgow.

The Cosmo was bought by the Scottish Film Council in 1974 and became the independent Glasgow Film Theatre with some major structural alterations, such as three screens, but much of the original decoration was retained

This B-listed building continues to be the main cinema to watch foreign-language film in Glasgow.

Pin  Programming foreign-language films from the start.

Opened since 1935 as a restaurant, oyster bar and café, Rogano is the oldest surviving restaurant in Glasgow. The place was fitted in a style similar to the Cunard liner the Queen Mary, which had just been built on the Clyde river.

The establishment has retained the same look and feel it had in the 1930s, with his original Art-Deco interior features, including the remarkable murals, high ceilings pillars and glass canopies.
Many celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Alex Ferguson, Ewan McGregor, Mick Jagger, Kiera Knightley, Kylie Minogue, Jude Law have dined at the Rogano.

Rogano continues to be a celebrated finest fish and seafood restaurant, celebrity haunt and a real institution.

Pin  Many celebrities have dined at the Rogano.

Discover the O2 Academy Glasgow

O2 ACADEMY GLASGOW | 2018 Art Deco Fourth Winner

Designed by Lennox and McMath and built by Mr A.B. King, this place has survived by reinventing itself over the years.

Originally erected as a church in 1825, it closed in 1920 and was transformed into the Bedford Cinema in 1921. The building was destroyed by a fire in 1932, and later rebuilt and opened in Art Deco style that same year, until it closed in 1973. Later converted into a bingo, since 2003 is a live concert and dance venue with a capacity of 2,500 people.

The O2 Academy Glasgow is a B Listed building and an important destination for big name touring bands.

Pin  Outstanding contribution to Glasgow’s vibrant live music scene since 2003.

Contemplate the Luma Tower Building



LUMA TOWER | 2018 Art Deco Fifth Winner

The Luma Tower is a building designed by Scottish architect Cornelius Armour in 1938 as the Glasgow headquarters of the British Luma Co-operative Electric Lamp Society Ltd, the first international co-operative factory for the manufacture of light bulbs and electric lamps.

Used later as a caravan showroom, the tower was restored in 1993 and converted into 43 housing flats.

The building is category B listed, and its distinctive feature is a protruding tower resembling an airport control tower, which was originally used during the night to test bulbs beyond their design voltage.

Pin  Used during to test light bulbs beyond their design voltage.


Glasgow Art Deco

Cool Facts

The Quote

In a city like Glasgow, it was a huge change. The Art Deco buildings shook up the architecture of industrial Scotland. Suddenly, you had these sleek buildings, that were shiny, or brilliant white, or with dazzling chrome fascias, appearing in soot black streets.

Charles McKean, Professor of Architectural History at Dundee University (1946-2013).


From May to December 1938 Glasgow held the Empire Exhibition, an international exposition at Bellahouston Park. It offered a chance to boost the economy of Glasgow from the depression of the 30s and the most buildings were designed in Art Deco style.

The Exhibition attracted 12 million visitors and the most prominent place was the Tait Tower (140 metres high), that was demolished in 1939.

Unluckily, the only major surviving original structures are the Palace of Art (on the site) and the Palace of Engineering (rebuilt at Prestwick Airport and still in use by BAE Systems).

Video: 3D virtual model of the Glasgow Empire Exhibition by Design Digital Video.


Greatest Glasgow Awards

Technical Criteria

Research led by SUZANNAH HENDERSON ׀
Date of the Research: 28 JUNE – 10 JULY 2018 ׀
Publication date: 16 JULY 2018
Review date: 16 JULY 2019

Scope of the research & essential inclusion criteria:
It exists today.Built between 1920s-1940s.Art Deco style.
Premium+ criteria:

1 Historical.
2 Uniqueness.
3 Maintenance / Condition.
4 Architecture elements.
5 Size.

Helps to understand Glasgow’s history.
Innovative construction techniques.
9 Opened to public.
10 A/B listed building.

Premium Validation criteria:

11 True to its origins.
12 Length of use.
13 Beauty of the ornaments.
14 Access to pedestrians and / or vehicles.
15 Interior of the building.

16 Harmonious set.
17 Night illumination.
18 Disabled accessibility.
19 Landmark.
20 Other features.

Additional information about the VPP+ process:     VPP+