Miami – Art Deco South Beach
The Art Deco movement of the 1920’s began really as a reaction to the austerity of world war one. Although in Europe it’s popularity peaked in the 20’s, it continued strongly in the United States through the 1930’s eventually reaching Miami’s South Beach and influencing the buildings that were going up here at the time.
Over the years, many of these buildings faded and became somewhat dowdy looking until in the 1980’s an intensive restoration project was undertaken to restore and bring life back to these wonderful buildings. As a result, this section of the city has been restored to some of its 1930’s glory, and with the help of conservation today resists the dominance of the car and is an area of broad pavements best explored on foot.
As you walk along the South Beach development you see a neighbourhood that stands today as a proud memory to the architectural revolution of the art deco period. On ocean drive in particular, the beachfront buildings give you a feel for the strange blend of geometric designs and pastel colours and intricate designs within. Most of the art deco buildings in the area are three storeys or less, and their streamlined look which was ultra modern when they were built is today considered very retro.
Stand back and look, and you get an overall impression of symmetry and geometric forms. Step in and look more closely and you will find the intricate designs and elaborate detail that are part of what make these buildings Art Deco.
Following their restoration, many of these buildings are today apartment blocks or hotels. Colony Hotel on Ocean Drive and Essex House on Collins Avenue are two very fine examples of what you can find here. Along side hotels, there are now restaurants and nightclubs occupying these buildings and helping to give the area a new lease of life.
Miami Art Deco Weekend is an annual festival taking place here every January. During the weekend, Art Deco enthusiasts from all over the world come to Miami and spend the time sharing their passion for this movement in one of the worlds best preserved areas of Art Deco Architecture, as well as enjoying the chic cocktail bars and exclusive clubs of Miami’s nightlife.
Lincoln Road Miami was originally conceived by Carl Fisher, and is Miami’s equivalent to New York’s fifth avenue for shopping. Here you can find a pedestrian only mall, lots of cafes, restaurants and excellent places to shop. One of the most famous restaurants here is Jerry’s famous Deli which offers a 24 hour food hall with a stunning Art Deco setting. For more shopping try Bal Harbour mall. Many exclusive brands are available here, so if you’re looking for Cartier, Prada or Fendi, this is the place to shop.
Overall South Beach is known as ‘America’s Riviera’ and with over 800 architecturally protected buildings from the Art Deco period, today it is a chic destination full of glamour and restored architectural treasures.