Art Deco in Napier

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The picturesque seaside town of Napier was leveled by a catastrophic earthquake on 3 February 1931 (7.9 on Richter scale). Fatalities numbered 258. Reconstruction of the city occurred over the next couple years during the depression and during global art-deco mania. Jobs! Art deco was cheap to build, made of safe materials (falling columns and balconies had killed many people), and modern.

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I re-learned during our downtown walking tour how to spot art deco. Mostly it’s in the details: zig zags, lightning bolts, sunbursts, ziggurats, speed lines, streamlined shapes, and ancient motifs. Soft pastel colors and clean lines are also art deco giveaways. Lead glass windows and stainless steel door handles too.

Here are photos from our walking tour.

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Even the city buses are art deco!

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P.S. How much is that doggie in the window? (I want it!)

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