I visited the town of Napier, New Zealand which is north of Wellington, the capital. The town suffered a devastating earthquake during the height of the Art Deco period, February 3, 1931. The collapses of buildings and the ensuing fires killed 256 people. The centre of the town was destroyed by the earthquake. And they decided to rebuild the town in that style.
Art Deco or Deco, is an influential visual arts design style which first appeared in France after WWI, flourishing internationally in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s before its popularity waned after WWII. It is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. The style is often characterized by rich colors, bold Geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation.
Deco emerged from the Interwar period when rapid industrialization was transforming culture. One of its major attributes is an embrace of technology. This distinguishes Deco from the organic motifs favored by its predecessor Art Nouveau.
During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.
Although a few Art Deco buildings were replaced with contemporary structures during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, most of the centre remained intact for long enough to become recognised as architecturally important, and beginning in the 1990s it had been protected and restored. Napier and the area of South Beach, Miami, Florida, are considered to be the two best-preserved Art Deco towns.
As you can see, they really get into it – in their dress and cars, too. They even have a holiday and most of the town folk dress up in period clothes. We arrived just a day prior to that event, but we did see some people already getting prepared.