I always wanted to understand better the Art Deco style, it’s history and how it evolved to be what it is today and what made Miami Beach the largest architectural cluster Art Deco in the world. Some says the style was heavily influenced by cubism and futurism, in contrast to the art nouveau movement at the time. But if you have a closer look to the buildings and old hotels in Ocean Drive, both the facades and the interiors, you will find difficult to understand it’s roots. Where did it come from and what were its influences? Well, I finally found a very interesting article in Financial Times explaining a lot about the emergence of Art Deco back decades ago.
The article, written by Edwin Heathcote, critic of themes related to architecture in the Financial Times, reports that 100 years ago the world of architecture began to suffer a strong influence of maritime life and its nautical traits. It was a time when the sea and the nautical life took on a different glamour, especially due to the appearance of huge and luxurious ocean cruises. At the same time that the shipping companies offered luxury trips and services on board exclusive cruises, the interior design of the vessels boasted smooth, modern lines with their own characteristics: round windows, steel plates, round lines.
The article mentions also an exhibition that is now taking place in Britain and will be open to the public until June: Art Deco by the Sea. The exhibition shows the flourishing of Art Deco in Britain in the interwar period (1920 to 1930). However, at that time, Britain was only a small spot on the world map. From Miami to Havana, Puerto Rico to Biarritz, Cape Town to Los Angeles, local versions of Art Deco have emerged in the most desirable coastal neighborhoods.
They 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.
Read the entire article: https://www.ft.com/content/f99a2ecc-525f-11ea-a1ef-da1721a0541e
Miami Beach and the Art Deco district
Miami Beach is home to the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. Many investors and buyers look for properties in the neighborhood for their homes and offices. Most of the buildings suffered renovations, contributing to the evolution of Art Deco style.