Art Deco : Entertainment venues in the heart of the city!
Witness to a true renewal of performing arts, Parisian concert halls and theatres perfectly adapted themselves to the Roaring Twenties. Today you can still see lively and innovative shows in venues that have remained mythical.
Even if they did not last long (just ten years between 1920 and 1929), the Roaring Twenties profoundly influenced the arts of the 20th century. Having experienced the horrors of war, Parisians wanted to have fun. Shows had to be larger than life and the scenery majestic, like the revolutionary Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. Music hall and operetta were booming, Josephine Baker was becoming a star; people were dancing the tango, listening to jazz and the Charleston in dance halls and cabarets. The performing arts used the talent of Art Deco architects to provide new venues to contain this new excitement.
The Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, built in 1913, was a pioneering venue: it was the first Parisian theatre to be built entirely of reinforced concrete. It also had the distinction of having been designed by a group of artists, including architects Henry Van de Velde and Auguste Perret, sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, painter Maurice Denis and crystal maker René Lalique. Today, it is still a creative venue which loves offering different events, from classical opera to popular artists such as Elton John.
A few hundred metres away is the Salle Pleyel where Art Deco, focusing on geometric shapes, was well suited to classical music. This is one of the largest concert halls built in the 20th century and one of the most popular venues for symphony concerts, thanks to its exceptional acoustics. The architectural choices of Gustave Lyon and Jean-Marcel Aubertin are very simple, highlighting the sparseness of the venue and the absence of decorative sophistication, although the lobby is decorated with ironwork by Raymond Subes, medallions by Le Bourgeois and column shaped lighting created by the Baguès company. Today, the Salle Pleyel belongs to the Cité de la musique and is home to all types of music.
Finally, the Folies Bergère on the Grands Boulevards is a good example of the successful Art Deco rehabilitation of a building that was once Art Nouveau. Two centuries old , this mythical venue has always been able to adapt to the times. Built on the eve of the 1870 war, it was the birthplace of a new kind of live show: the music hall review. Originally built as an opera house, it changed appearance in the 1920s to accommodate the tastes of the time. The architects Piollenc and Morice enlarged the venue in the spirit of the 20th century and the sculptor Pico designed a fresco, classified today as an historic monument.