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The Art Deco District

South Beach, Miami

Reasons to love it? Miami, as a rule, doesn’t make nothing halfway: the main attractions of the city are beach, bikinis, happy hours, night clubs, theatre, art galleries… unequalled  concentration  in the Usa (watching the back from New York that tries to rule supremely over the world of art). Where else can you visit an artist’s studio, see a private collection, a postmodernist work on the roadside and kilometers covered with graffiti , and all of this in a single afternoon? And then, there is architecture: either you love Miami or you hate it, you should recognize that its multitude of the Art Decò beauties is worth to be seen.

Miami Beach has just celebrated its centennial anniversary and results completely changed compared to a century ago: instead of a group of wild islands today there is a paradise made of long white beaches, exotic gardens, historic elegant districts that represent the vastest architectural Art Decò collection that is considered best preserved in the world.

The Art Decò District, an exclusive district of South Beach, still maintains the features of antique art déco buildings raised in thirties, which were preserved starting from seventies, thanks to the work of Barbara Baer Capitman, founder and president of Miami Design Preservation with a goal to safeguard the original majesty, curve shapes, long horizontal lines and traditional pastel colors of the Art Decò Capital.

At the first decade of the 19th century, Miami Beach was object of a building speculation time to the tourist valorization of the island, considering the failures of the investments in avocado and coconut plantations in the past: it was the beginning of a real building boom that saw to rise hundreds of small hotels and mansions in a short time.

The Art Decò movement and taste swept rapidly with l’Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes 1924 in Paris. With its elements recalling egyptian and maya buidings and decorations contaminated with  such traditional caraibic elements like flamingo, palms, marine themes, the buildings were designed with pure shapes, geometrical lines and pastel colors (like pink, yellow, turquoise, light blue, lilac, green peppermint) which leaded to rename this trend “Tropical Art Deco’”. The era Déco of Miami is usually divided into two periods. The first one from the 1926 to 1938, is inspired by the antique architecture characterized by sharp geometrical/styled shapes and natural drawings, whereas the second period, raised during the Great Depression between the end of thirties and forties, is known as a rational period and is characterized by buildings with more simple decorations, curve angles and a look vaguely recalling mechanical elements. The first Déco period is represented by Crescent Hotel and Webster Hotel, whereas the rational period includes Hotel Breakwater and Hotel Essex.

Today, the Art Decò district is considered one of the most important attractions of the city contributing, through the years, to create a colourful and veiled kitch style characterizing Miami city and its beaches. Miami Beach is becoming one of the most famous and appreciated places for holidays and real estate investments  on the international scene. The importance of the current building works inside of all the area together with amazing beaches, prestigious events and the presence of the most important architectural Art Decò herritage in the world, is outlining its unprecedented growth.

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