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Art Deco District Miami is the largest architectural cluster Art Deco in the world. The place offers hundreds of houses, office buildings, hotels, museums and historic structures built between the period from 1920 to 1940. A walk through the Ocean Drive, between the numbers 5 and 15, will provide a great view of the striking style of Art Deco in Miami Beach Florida.

Art Deco District Miami: The largest architectural cluster Art Deco in the world

Art Deco District Miami: The largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world

Art Deco Style started in Europe in 1910, just before the first World War, and reached its peak in the 1920s and 1930s. Its decline began in 1935. The Style influenced different dimensions of art, from painting to interior design, architecture, cinema, industrial design, and more. It emerged as a modern, glamorous style with reference to luxury. And, as the name suggests, it was a purely decorative trend. It did not exactly represent a movement with political or philosophical influences.

What is Art Deco style?

Art Deco is an abbreviation of French arts decoratifs conferred to an artistic style that emerged in 1920, in Europe. When the style emerged did not have this name, which came only in 1925, after the international exposition of modern industrial and decorative arts (Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes) in Paris.

The artistic style Art Deco has features like the use of geometric shapes and abstract design. It is a more synthetic style, clean and pure. It’s influenced by cubism and futurism and also ancient civilizations cultures like Greece and Egypt. Geometric lines in zig-zag and paintings in gold are influences of drawings of ancient tombs of the Pharaohs.

When Art Deco emerged in 1920 the world passed through major technological changes, with the use of new materials like aluminum, glass, stainless steel, among others. These materials became part of construction and architecture. The new modern style influenced not only the architecture at the time, but also vehicles, decorative objects, clothes, paintings and even the design of jewelry.

Art Deco Miami: The Rebirth of the style

If we have a closer look to the many buildings in the Miami Beach Art Deco District, it is often difficult to find an identity of the style, since it is a mixture of different concepts, often contradictory. There is cubism and futurism, in contrast with Art Nouveau movement at the time. At the same time it brings geometrical and modern lines, it can also bring extremely elaborate details. It’s difficult to find its roots.

What happened in Miami Beach was an evolution of the Art Deco Style, a rebirth heavily influenced by the sea and the maritime life. Tropical influences, pastel colors, neon signs, Mediterranean architectural concepts, among other features, is what you see in the largest Art Deco District of the world. For this reason, Miami Beach Art Deco is also called by some of Tropical Deco.

In the article The secret history and eternal glamour of the Art Deco beach house, written by Edwin Heathcote, a Financial Times critic, explains this so called rebirth of Art Deco. About 100 years ago the world of architecture began to suffer a strong influence of maritime life and its nautical traits. It was a new era of mass tourism, new luxury coastal resorts were built and the old ones got remodeled on the influence of the Deco style. At the same time, all means of transport (road, sea, air) felt the need to get modernized to meet the expectations of the new travelers. While cruise companies offered luxury trips and services on board exclusive transportation, the interior design of the vessels boasted smooth, modern lines with their own characteristics: round windows, steel plates, round lines.

Those are the lines you often find on Art Deco Buildings in Miami!

In Miami Beach Real Estate, Art Deco reborn bringing influences from Mediterranean style (arched windows and terracotta roofs), pastel colored and tropicalism.

Art Deco Buildings in Miami all imitated the curves, railings and windows of the ships. The sea became the center of the style. The architecture and design of cruises started to appear in magazines and became a reference worldwide. An international style of Art Deco began to emerge.

Art Deco Miami
Ocean Drive Art Deco Buildings at night
Art Deco Miami District

History of Art Deco Architecture an style in the world

As already mentioned, Art Deco emerged in 1920 as a new modern movement of geometric and more synthetic lines. It started to be called Art Deco after 1925, with the international exhibition in Paris. In this first moment, the style was more given to high post-war rich bourgeoisie and, for this reason, early Art Deco buildings won noble materials in their designs and details, like ivory, jade and lacquer.

At the beginning of the 30s Art Deco goes through a process of massification and it popularizes. Materials used for the style, now popularized, were the ones that could be produced on a large scale through industrial production. Thus, Art Deco is very connected to Industrial Revolution, which strongly influences the style.

Art Deco Architecture

History of the Art Deco district Miami

Around 1910, the millionaire Carl Fischer decided to transform the island, which today is called Miami Beach, in a luxury spa. Carl acquired several plots on the site and began the project had its that beginning culminating in the peak of Art Deco style in the world. Miami Beach became the place of the rich and famous and remained this until the 50 years, when it fell into disrepair. Many buildings and houses began to deteriorate and the region was overrun by mobsters. It was this time that inspired the famous television show Miami Vice in the 80.

Miami Vice

Salvation for the neighborhood emerged in 1976, with the creation of the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). The League is a non-profit organization that was created to restore and preserve the neighborhood and region, as well as protect and encourage its Art Deco architecture. The excellent work performed by MDPL was and it is an example to be followed. Miami Beach is today an open-air Museum of Art Deco style.

MDPL provides the tourist information center: Art Deco  Welcome Center, where you can find guides, brochures and other information about the Art Deco District and sights of Miami.

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