February 24, 2009

South Beach architecture and photos of my boat tour

As you may know, this past weekend, I was in Miami at The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival.  The architecture of South Beach is very distinctive and if you love the Art Deco Style, a walk or drive through Miami’s South Beach, with its colorful streamlined buildings, will be a feast for your eyes.  The origins of Art Deco can be traced back to 1901.  With the death of Queen Victoria, the highly ornamented Victorian era ended.  As a way of merging design with the new speed of technology, French decorators created bold and original works of all types, including jewelry, clothing, furniture, décor, and architecture.

In keeping with the Art Deco trend, during the 1930’s and 40’s, a group of architects began building hotels for the growing number of vacationers travelling to Miami.  The structures had the characteristic rounded corners and geometric ornamentation, but they also included nautical themes, and floral and bird designs, and became known as “Tropical Deco.”  The buildings were mostly painted white and were popular with tourists for many years.  Unfortunately, during the 50’s, the area fell on hard times and the once-glamorous hotels were terribly neglected.  But, in recent years, thanks to a group of visionaries who felt the buildings were worth saving, many of these classic hotels have been fabulously restored and painted in beautiful, tropical colors.  They’re fun to visit and fun to stay in.

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Sightseeing in Miami is really fun. There is so much to see and so much natural beauty - witness these huge palms right on Collins Avenue.