The Hoover Building

Image by Steve Cadman
Art Deco Building

Image by Steve Cadman
The Hoover Factory in London is one of the most iconic art deco buildings in the world, famous chiefly for its remarkable balancing act between architectural functionalism and its striking decorative features.

This is no ordinary factory as not only is the first site of the building (which is really three buildings together) an impressively striking sight in its entirety but the visitors eye is inexorably drawn to the extraordinarily imaginative and exotic detail of its parts.

Everything about this building screams art deco, from its Aztec inspired front facade, rounded towers, lines of blue and white tiles,  Egyptian pillars, stylised sunbursts and geometric shapes to it's period colour combination  of green, orange, blue and black, contrasted with a  stark white background.

A view of the tower windows
The Einstein Tower in Potsdam
Notably, in a departure form the drab, airless factories of previous eras, the Hoover Factory's designers Incorporated large areas of pane glass windows, in consideration for the Hoover factory workers inside, as it was originally constructed as a manufacturing facility for Hoover vacuum cleaners, though it did, for a time during WW2, operate as a manufacturing plant for electrical equipment for aircraft and tanks .

The architects appear to have drawn inspiration from many sources - for example, as some have suggested, the corner windows on the towers are reminiscent of Eric Mendelsohns Einstein Tower in Postdam, Germany, built in 1924 and the spider-like iron gates suggestive of those at the Glascow School of Art (1886-89), designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh.

 Designed by Gilbert, Wallace and Partners and built in three stages between 1932 and 1935, the Hoover factory,  escaped destruction in the 1990s when it was sold to Tescos supermarket chain and survived only because it was named as a listed building. Fortunately the exterior and a large part of the interior remain in tact. and Tescos worked with English Heritage to build a supermarket at the rear of the building in a style at least superficially in keeping with the original building.

Tesco supermarket at the rear of the Hoover Building.

Readers., you can get a better look at the Hoover factory via the following video, which features Elvis Costello's tribute song to the building..