Architectural Exploration: Art deco homes

7 December 2023

"In this edition of REIWA’s Architectural Exploration series, we explore the rich history of Art Deco homes in Perth, and their lasting impact on modern design."

Nestled within Perth's diverse architectural landscape, Art Deco homes stand as a reminder of the growth and optimism of the post-war era, and the shift towards curves, geometric patterns and symmetry.

The Art Deco movement first appeared in France just before World War I (1914-1918) and the style made its debut in Paris in 1925 at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels Modernes. Initially showcased as Style Moderne, it eventually became known as Art Deco.

While some have said that there is little Art Deco architecture in Perth, there was enough for our city to have hosted the second Art Deco World Congress in 1993 – the first being held in Miami, Florida in 1991.

In this edition of REIWA’s Architectural Exploration series, we explore the rich history of Art Deco homes in Perth, and their lasting impact on modern design.

The era

As the world emerged from the aftermath of World War I, a new aesthetic emerged, marked by geometric precision and a celebration of modernity.

The Art Deco movement in Australia has its roots in the 1920s and 1930s and reflects a period of dynamic change and artistic exuberance.

Perth embraced this new architectural style, offering a unique interpretation that resonated with our climate and lifestyle, with homes such as this Floreat property popping up across the city.

As the world approached the mid-20th century, Art Deco homes became synonymous with affluence and stature, embodying the spirit of a progressive era, becoming larger and more opulent, such as this North Perth property.

The style

With a nod to Hollywood’s Golden Age, the Art Deco era was labelled a "total work of art," extending beyond architecture, influencing fashion, jewelry, films and more.

Art Deco dwellings in Perth, with their clean, bold lines, and geometric shapes - like this Dalkeith home - stand in stark contrast to the more ornate details of Federation homes that preceded them.

While Federation homes feature intricate patterns, glasswork and complex wood carvings, Art Deco embraces simplicity, planarity and symmetry, showcasing an unvaried repetition of elements.

As you explore Art Deco residences in Perth, expect to see facades with decorative motifs, streamlined forms, shapely curves and iconic zigzag patterns.

These homes often feature materials like Bakelite plastic, reinforced concrete, vita-glass, and a combination of natural materials such as silver, ivory, jade, and chrome.

Where to find Art Deco in Perth

Art Deco designs have left an indelible mark on Perth’s urban canvas. Suburbs showcasing these architectural jewels include:


The Fremantle area is home to a number of Art Deco properties, such as this renovated East Fremantle home with its curved verandah leading to a spacious backyard.


In Perth’s inner-north, Menora is a hub of Art Deco architecture. This family home on a large block features high ceilings with ornate cornicing and geometric lines.

Western suburbs

Suburbs such as Floreat, Peppermint Grove and Dalkeith are home to a range of Art Deco residences, many of which have been modernised to meet the needs of today’s families, while keeping the original heritage facade.

This Peppermint Grove property is a prime example of a home that has maintained the original character of the exterior...

…while the interior has been tastefully updated, with elements of the original style including linear ceiling designs maintained.

Moving on from Art Deco style

By World War II, Art Deco was fading out of fashion. However, the bold designs were revived during the late ’60s and have influenced many artists and designers ever since.

Buildings created in this style are fast approaching their centenaries, however many enthusiasts continue to honour and preserve their history, incorporating Art Deco design elements into contemporary renovations. 


Cover image credit: Oswald Homes

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