Sunday, August 28, 2011

Art Deco tour in South Beach

I have been living in Miami for 8 years but last week I was just a regular tourist taking my first walking tour of the Art Deco district.  And there is plenty to see and learn when you are taking a stroll in the largest collection of preserved Art Deco buildings in the world.

Congress Hotel - Art Deco District on South Beach
Architects and designers will fall in love with the number of hotels featuring the "Tropical Deco" style of Miami Beach with plenty of whimsical flora, fauna and ocean-liner motifs.  All building have some of the elements characterizing this period: glass blocks, decorative sculptural panels, eyebrows, round porthole windows, terrazzo floors, curved edges and corners, elements in groups of three and plenty of neon lighting.

Neon lights at the Art Deco District on South Beach

However, if you are just a regular guy or girl like me, there is plenty of stories about the period that will catch your attention.  For instance, the controversial Calvin Klein ad for Obsession perfume in the roof of the Breakwater hotel in 1987 that catapulted fashion to SoBe.  My favorite though is the facade of the Commodore hotel where rumor has it that Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier took the inspiration for her iconic cone bra.

1987 Calvin Klein Ad on South Beach

Commodore Hotel - Art Deco District

Truth or tale, it really doesn't matter.  What I guarantee is that you will have a wonderful time.  Make sure you take the tour guided by Kent, a Chicago native with a passion for Miami Beach history.

Kent - Art Deco Walking Tour Guide


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