George Town, Malaysia Art Deco shophouses: even small buildings play with forms, break taboos

From blogger Carolyn O'Donnell: "Art Deco curves and flourishes can make almost anything look more stylish.  In the opening credits of Sex and the City, it wasn’t Carrie’s stupid tutu dress that grabbed our attention, it was the stunning crown of the Chrysler Building.  Penang’s capital George Town doesn’t have any buildings that were briefly the tallest in the world, but it does have shophouses that incorporated elements of the French design movement into their facades. "It took me a long time to notice them, partly because a shophouse/Art Deco pairing seemed about likely as Sarah Jessica Parker dropping into George Town for a big bowl of curry mee.  And then I started to see them, especially in Campbell St, which was the fashionable centre of old Penang.  It is also in the centre of the Unesco heritage site zone, which hopefully should ensure their protection, and for the sad, neglected ones, some refurbishment.  When I really started looking, I was surprised to see a large Art Deco apartment building on Campbell, near Penang Rd, under which at least eight businesses were trading away.

"The largest concentration of Art Deco – or as it is known in the US, Streamline Moderne – architecture in America can be found on Miami Beach, and the colourful buildings are an attraction in themselves. Less opulent than their Parisian counterparts due to Depression shortages, they still feature curves and theatrical decorative touches, as do these buildings here in Penang.  The early Twentieth Century was an exciting time for art and design, because there were so many new forms to play with, and taboos to break."  Full post here.