In January of this year, we took a trip down to Florida for some work and a getaway from winter. I'm not generally a fan of Florida (the humidity, the radioactive sunburns, the random rainstorms) but a little bit of sunshine and warmth did help out my mood. One afternoon we ventured over to Miami's South Beach. I'd been there before, but at night, and so I didn't notice all the art deco design filling the city. This year, we ended up there just at the start of the annual Art Deco Weekend, so of course I had to hit the nearby museum to learn more about the city.
Apparently, the city was almost leveled by a disastrous storm in the early 1920s. The rebuilding project was formed around the newest design concepts gaining popularity in the time, and so South Beach was refashioned as a modern design utopia. There are many different sub-genres of the style which are found here, such as Streamline Moderne and Tropical Deco, with a heavy reliance on nautical motifs. In 1976, the decline of Miami Beach was leading to the possible destruction of these treasures, but a woman named Barbara Baer Capitman founded the Miami Design Preservation League, which essentially saved these buildings. The art deco district in Miami is the largest concentration of this style in the world. Set against the blue waters of the Atlantic and with a tropical breeze, this is the closest you can get to being transported back to the 1920s.
Do you have a favorite era of design? Any art deco influences in your city?