Art Deco also called “Style Moderne” was a movement in the decorative arts and Architecture which originated around 1920’s and developed into a Major style in Western Europe and the United States during the 1930’s. The name Art Deco was derived from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. The intention of the movement was to create a sleek and anti-traditional elegance that symbolizes wealth, sophistication and modernism. Today Art Deco is marked by its characteristic bright colors, exotic flora and fauna motifs along with prominent structural gems like geometric fountain and statues. Whimsical pastel buildings are embellished with glamorous features like porthole windows, shiny curves, glass blocks, chrome accents and terrazzo flooring.
Miami is known for its beautiful beaches, But Miami’s historic district consist of more than 800 buildings and structures which were built between 1923 and 1943 and were influenced by the Art Deco. Here are 10 building through which you can experience Art Deco in Miami, Florida.
1. The Bass Museum of Art
Location- 2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Designed by – Russel Pancoast
The Bass Museum of Art is a contemporary art museum located on the Miami Beach. Originally the building was constructed in 1930’s as Miami Beach public library and art center. In 1963 the building was repurposed for the Bass Museum of Art and opened in 1964. Pancoast designed the building with a thought of maintaining the symmetry of the formal gardens in Collins Park. The lovely carvings depict Spanish conquest, a fantastic pelican eating a fish, and cruise ships, boats and planes roaring towards Miami Beach. The building’s distinctive façade is made from fossilized Paleolithic corals and decorated with bas reliefs by Gustav Boland. This is a beautiful and dignified structure that serves as a cultural anchor for the area.
2. The Breakwater
Location – 940 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Designed by- Anton Skislewicz
The Breakwater Hotel’s clean, colorful lines and emphasis on symmetry are emblematic of the stylistic qualities of Art Deco design. Built in 1936, the 99-room boutique hotel was extensively renovated in 1999, making it one of the jewels of Ocean Drive.
3. Miami Beach Post Office
Location – 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Architect – Howard Lovewell Cheney
Designed in 1937 Miami Beach Post Office is a unique and a well-preserved example of Art Deco style building. While the design is relatively understated, look a little closer and you’ll see that the rotunda is topped by a decorative cupola, while an eagle perches just above the doorway’s large, impressive glass panel, which allows light to stream into the lobby. The inside doesn’t disappoint, either, with an impressive starburst ceiling, a central fountain and shiny brass mailboxes. The most prominent feature is a three-paneled 1941 mural painted by Charles Hardman.
4. Essex house
Location-1001 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Architect- Henry Hohauser
With a prow that seems poised to set sail on the corner of Collins Avenue and 10th Street and a smokestack-style neon sign above, the 1938 building was designed to resemble a landlocked ocean liner. The natty racing stripes that wrap around the building also continue inside the lobby, while a rare mural painted by Earl Lapan sits over the original fireplace. Lapan worked on more than 300 paintings across South Florida, but many of his works were sadly removed or painted over. This building stood the test of time and is one of the many Great Art Deco Buildings.
5. Cadillac Hotel and Club
Location-3925 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Architect-Roy F France
The 1940s building was constructed to resemble one of the brand’s premium motors, from its chrome center trim emblazoned with a glistening hood ornament to the car bonnet-style portico over the driveway. It stands proudly as one of the tallest Art Deco buildings on the beach, with prime views from its oceanfront tower. It’s now owned by the Marriott hotel group, but it still retains its Art Deco charm, with terrazzo floors and palm-embossed ceiling adorning the lobby.
6. Colony Theater
Location- 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Architect- R.A. Benjamin
Built for Paramount theaters in 1935, the Colony Theatre is an Art Deco gem, both inside and out. The marquee and façade are beautifully maintained, the ticket box perfectly restored, and the pristine terrazzo flooring features bold lines and geometric patterns. The much-loved 430-seat theater is a performing arts center and a neighborhood hub, with its central location on Lenox Avenue and Lincoln Road.
7. The Raleigh Hotel
Location- 1775 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Designed By- L. Murray Dixon
Opened in 1940 The Raleigh is known as the “grand dame” of art deco style. In 1947, Life Magazine named the hotel’s curvy pool “the most beautiful pool in America.” The original design of the hotel includes 113 rooms. The entrances were decorated with polished stone and the lobby illuminated with recessed neon. The hotel was closed in 2017 after the damage from Hurricane Irma. In 2019 it was purchased by a group of developers.
8. Marlin Hotel
Location-1200 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Architect- Murray Dixon
This three-story building has had many incarnations, most famously as Chris Blackwell’s South Beach Studios in the 1980s, which attracted A-list talents such as Bob Marley and Aerosmith. A room was added in the Early ‘90s where hip-hop and pop giants like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mariah Carey and Gwen Stefani have stayed, played and recorded chart-topping hits.
9. The Carlyle
Location-1250 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Architect- Kiehnel & Elliot
Built in 1941, The Carlyle has been a star on Ocean Drive for nearly 75 years. The 1996 film, The Birdcage, was set here and its façade was featured in films like Scarface and Bad Boys 2. Notice how the Art Deco rule of thirds is employed, with its three dividing vertical sections and the step tops that cap them. The muted Deco color palette (white and sea foam green) is much more subtle than many of the other landmark buildings from this era.
10. Senor Frogs
Location-1450 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Architect: Henry Hohauser
Inspired from car fenders, airplane noses and everything in between, proponents of art deco’s Streamline Modern look began to soften buildings’ hitherto boxy edges. But when Hohauser designed Hoffman’s Cafeteria in 1940 he took modern to the max. The landmark (now Señor Frog’s) has a sleek, splendidly curved facade.