Modernism in Kaunas

Kaunas design and architecture of the 1930s were inspired by both luxurious American Art Deco and individualistic, avant-gardist French Art déco . The uniqueness of Lithuanian Art Deco consists in the use of Baltic folk elements and regional Baroque motifs, alongside internationally established Modernist and Art Deco forms.

Kaunas Modernism in architecture formed in the early 1930s when the city became Lithuania’s temporary capital following the incorporation of Vilnius Region (so called Litwa Środkowa) into Poland. The rapid growth of Kaunas city in the late 1920s and early 1930s led to construction of numerous modernistic buildings (most of which were designed mostly by representatives of the Kaunas School of Architecture). The city’s economic, cultural and artistic boom prompted many to refer to Kaunas as “Little Paris” or “Little Boston”.

In April 2015, the European Union awarded a European Heritage Label to the modern interwar architecture of Kaunas. In December, Kaunas was granted the status of a UNESCO Design City in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The city now seeks to become European Capital of Culture in 2022 and its modernism to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Art Deco Kaunas” is proud and privileged to contribute to this prestigious recognition.