When I was in Florida this winter, I decided to visit South Beach, Miami. This was a long bus ride from Hollywood, but without a car, this was the only affordable option. Two dollars gets you a long way in Florida! It is simple and efficient and great for people watching.
The last time I had visited South Beach was in 1972, when it was old, rundown and teeming with leathery-skinned elderly folk. I remember my husband and I walking into a cafeteria for lunch and being stared at by the customers. We were the only ones under 70, and way under 70. I didn’t like my visit, not just because of being gaped at, but also because the place was uninteresting and shabby. Sure the old buildings had potential but that potential seemed a long way off.
Welcome to the new and improved South Beach. What a feast for the eyes South Beach is, for the buildings, most of them hotels! ( and some might add: for the beautiful people!)
I had read about the facelift in South Beach and was looking forward to seeing and experiencing it. I’m not a building professional and don’t know that much about periods and styles but I know what I like. I like the look of art deco. I like the curves, the details of columns, lines and ornaments and the simplicity of the look.
If you want to learn a bit about the history of the style, I refer you to this site: http://miami.about.com/cs/arts/a/aa010603a.htm It is a short read and gives you the basic information, such as the origin of the name: art deco. “The name art deco itself comes from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes held in Paris in 1925, which promoted art deco architecture in Europe.” The art deco look was inspired by the interest at the time for all things Egyptian, influenced by the numerous archaeological excavations of the 20′s such as Tutankhamun, Pompeii and Troy.
Unfortunately, today, in South Beach, restaurants line the sidewalks in front of the hotels and canopies cover these. The view is marred by these great blue canvasses and it is terrible to walk in this labyrinth of tables and guests. With fame comes an inconvenience or two and this is one.
When I returned to Hollywood Beach, I started looking at the modest motels and condos with another eye. I began to notice art deco details and influences. The possibilities for revamping the area are numerous. Little details of interest are all around although they are hard to see in the crowded and jumbled layout of the streets and buildings. This area is now a middle income, family-oriented tourist destination and I hope it remains this way. It would be nice, though, to be able to have a better view of the architectural lovelies that line the Broadwalk (yes, it is called broad, not board). Lines and curves are part of a beach destination, and, for me, in this little corner, this would include the buildings. Here are a few of the pictures I took:
The beach entrances are also lovely, with curved lines and flourishes.
Art, as this shows us, is everywhere, and when you look at details you can enjoy the history of the place and the era of a place. Art Deco is simple and enoyable and I hope this blog post helps you look for it and share it. Let us know.
© pictures bbunce