A Glimpse Into Miami's Art Deco Paradise
Miami’s “Art Deco” district in South Beach is an absolute must do for anyone who is a fan of vintage, quirky, colorful architecture. In a county where so much history has been lost due to the desire for bigger and better buildings – South Beach’s art deco buildings have been almost flawlessly preserved to a decade long ago. Now they are a gorgeous reminder of Miami’s vivacious and exciting past.
Art Deco is a style of architecture (among many other things), which was first exhibited in Paris, 1925 as an answer to the traditionally strict and plain “décor” brought on during World War 1. The name Art Deco was shortened from the original title of Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. The style was hugely popular through out the 20’s and 30’s and saw its decline during World War Two when it began to be seen as too frivolous and over the top. Art Deco can be easily recognized through its modern, geometrical and sometimes futuristic shapes.
Perhaps what I love most about art deco, besides how extremely lavish it can be (a la Mr. Gatsby) is the use of global influence and detail. Inspiration is drawn from Babylon, Ancient Egypt, Aztec Mexico, American Indians and beyond. I also tend to like that Art Deco is playful and the emphasis seems to be on pleasing the viewer.
Much like the Art Deco Movement, SoBe’s history is an exciting one riddled with celebrities, natural disasters, downfalls and even mafia style crime. Al Capone had a house there, Gianni Versace was famously murdered there and its iconic buildings have been the backdrop of countless TV shows and movies.
In true American form the life of the buildings have been in jeopardy several times by residents and developers who wish to build up South Beach. Luckily the buildings have always fallen into the hands of people who care to preserve their history and now over 800 buildings on the “Billion Dollar Sand Bar” are protected.
I would highly suggest putting your walking shoes on and wandering Ocean Drive, taking in the most concentrated area of Art Deco style on the strip. The Lincoln St. pedestrian shopping strip is also quite nice.