What is Art Deco
In the United States, Art Deco was a product of new ideas and movements and found its inspirations in many distinct early 20th Century European design styles such as Cubism, French Art Deco, German Bauhaus and Expressionism, Dutch de Stijl and Amsterdam School, Vienna Secession and others.
The term Art Deco came into common usage in the 1980s as public interest in the style was renewed and is generally used to cover several distinct periods. Art Deco became known as the Skyscraper Style for the buildings that sprang up in every big city in the mid to late 1920s. This was classical Art Deco, as first popularized at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, featuring expensive materials, angular yet voluptuous with elaborate motifs of fountains, nudes and flora.
Miami Beach’s building boom came during the second phase of Art Deco known as Streamline Moderne, which began with the stock market crash and ended in most cases with the outbreak of World War II. It was less decorative—a more sober reflection of the Great Depression. It relied more on machine-inspired forms, and American ideas in industrial design. It was buttressed by the belief that times would get better and was infused with the optimistic futurism extolled at America’s Worlds Fairs of the 1930s. Stripped Classic or Depression Moderne was a sub-style often used for governmental buildings, the U.S. Post Office being the best example in Miami Beach. Miami Beach architects used local imagery to create what we now call Tropical Deco. These buildings feature relief ornamentation featuring whimsical flora, fauna and ocean-liner motifs to reinforce the image of Miami Beach as a seaside resort.
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MDPL Walking Tours
Our award-winning tours led by volunteer tour guides certified by our local historians and architects from the Miami Design Preservation League include:
- Art Deco Walking Tour
1 1/2 to 2 hour walking tour provides an introduction to the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles found within the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District. Explore hotels, restaurants, and other commercial structures with a visit to a number of interiors.
- Jewish Miami Beach Tour
Explore the rise and fall of the Jewish population of Miami Beach over the past 100 years, including a look at the impact of selected key Jewish individuals and institutions, plus an overview of architectural styles in the southernmost part of the city.
- MiMo Tour
Modern Miami Architecture Tour introduces the newly recognized North Shore National Registered District and spotlights the distinctive MiMo architecture that makes this district unique. You’ll learn how to identify the many unique traits of MiMo architecture in this 90-minute walking tour by visiting a number of different public and private buildings.1st Saturday of every month
- Gay & Lesbian Walking Tour
This FABULOUS tour is all about the contributions of Gays and Lesbians to the history of Miami Beach and the preservation of its architectural gems, many of which you’ll visit during the tour. But it doesn’t stop there! We’ll also tell you how Gays and Lesbians are playing a continuing role in shaping the future of Miami Beach. AND we’ll introduce you to some of the HOT SPOTS of gay life in South Beach.2nd Saturday of every month
- AUDIO Tour (Self-Guided)
Walk through Miami Beach’s Art Deco District at your own pace, and learn about its architectural history using our digital device and accompanying map. The complete tour takes approximately 1 1/2 hours, but you can set your own pace. Available in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German. Available during regular business hours.
- Private Art Deco Tours
Private tours are a wonderful activity to augment a business meeting or convention, birthday party, or day-tour of Miami. We can accommodate Miami tour groups as small as one person, or up to 200 people, but to ensure quality we schedule one guide for every 20-25 people. Any of the regularly scheduled walking tours can be booked as a 90-minute private tour, but with greater flexibility—within reason, we can start your tour at any time on any day.
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