Hg2 : The Hedonist

Art Deco

Just take your head out of your Hg2 guide and look up – you’ll stumble upon grand Art Deco buildings (in various states of being) at every turn. In short, the style emerged as part of Paris’ Expostion Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925. You can recognise the style (in both its Skyscraper and Streamline Moderne versions) by looking for porthole windows, terrazzo floors, a sense of symmetry, stepped roofs, neon signage and lots of curves. L. Murray Dixon and Henry Hohauser, two of the architects working down here in that era, are significantly responsible for the feel of the Miami Beach structural landscape. Say a little prayer to honour the two people (Barbara Capitman and Leonard Horowitz) who are responsible for much of what you encounter here; that is, that it is still here. Ms. Capitman’s efforts led to the establishment, in 1979, of the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District (or Art Deco District) and its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, which protects the buildings and, in most cases, prevents their demolition. According to author Gerald Posner, Mr. Horowitz convinced Ms. Capitman that the white and beige paint jobs accented with dark colours were depressing; she allowed him to apply the pastel palette of faded lime, violet, sky blue, rose and coral that gives today’s South Beach so much of its character. If you’re interested in learning more, a stop at the Miami Design Preservation League at 1001 Ocean Drive (www.mdpl.org) for some brochures or a tour is essential.

Ocean Drive,
Miami Beach
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