Art Deco Details of Palladium House | Look Up London

Palladium House | The Art Deco Beauty Opposite Liberty’s

It’s no surprise that people fail to appreciate Palladium House. Standing opposite the glorious facade of Liberty’s, the majority of people take photos of that wonderful black and white entrance.

Liberty London | Look Up London

Now, this isn’t to say that Liberty doesn’t have its own historic credentials (you can read more about it here). But, there’s a gem waiting to be admired opposite.

At 1-6 Argyll Street stands Palladium House, formerly known as Ideal House.

Palladium House | Look Up London

It was built in 1928-9 by Raymond Hood and Gordon Jeeves. The stark black is all polished granite cladding but the excitement comes in the flourishes…

Art Deco Details of Palladium House | Look Up London

Take a closer look and you can see the colourful decorative framings. The technique is known as champlevé, a form of enamelling where powdered glass is heated until molten and then poured into recessed sections of metalwork. It gives a jewel-like finish.

Art Deco Details of Palladium House | Look Up London
Art Deco Details of Palladium House | Look Up London

So who on earth was behind this lovely new building in the late 1920s?

The answer is the American Radiator Company.

Established in 1892 as an amalgamation of several radiator companies, when they expanded into Europe they did so under the brand, National Radiator Company.

Thanks to the appeal of cast iron radiators in domestic homes, the company expanded rapidly. J.P. Morgan financed a takeover of most of the other radiator companies and by 1924 a huge new HQ was being built over Bryant Part in New York City.

The NYC original was also designed by Raymond Hood and the distinctive black and gold was a deliberate attempt to stand out against other stone and glass office blocks in Manhattan which Hood called ‘monotonous’.

CC BY 3.0 / Jean-Christophe BENOIST

It’s also thought that the black and gold symbolise coal and flame.

Back to London, after the Second World War, the National Radiator Company Limited became known as Ideal Standard and their Argyll Street HQ was known as Ideal House.

The exterior remains largely the same however some parts were removed. The V&A holds part of the surrounding door decoration in its collection.

Art Deco Details of Palladium House | Look Up London

The building was granted Grade II listed status in 1981 and its ground floors are currently used by a section of different chain restaurants.

Palladium House serves to add more proof that in London, you have to look up for the good stuff!

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  • Jane Burnett


    All those times I have admired Liberty’s – if only I had turned around and looked up!

    April 12, 2023 at 9:29 pm
  • It’s a beautiful building. I love all the art deco details. It sits on the site of the building Sir Joseph Banks was born in.

    June 2, 2023 at 11:28 pm

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