The tropical city in the United States has managed to turn its buildings into an open-air museum and become the city with the largest concentration of this type of buildings in the world. Learn about the history of Art Deco in Miami.
To speak of Art Deco is to speak of the 1920s, since it was from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925, that the current that would touch every discipline of art, revealing “the lost generation,” emerged. Paris recognized the style for the first time, as the pioneering artists of this movement managed to unite, mix and fuse influences from art nouveau, constructivism, cubism, and even futurism. This led to the diffusion and acceptance of the movement on an international level.
In the 1930s, this current had its greatest boom in the United States, as a consequence of the Great Depression of 1929. But its arrival in this country could not have been more revealing than in the city of Miami, since today it is the city with the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world, which is protected by the Miami Design Preservation League. It even organizes the Art Deco Weekend every year, to preserve and disseminate the architectural heritage.
The city appropriated the trend in unparalleled ways, founding the so-called Tropical Déco, which is not only faithful to the use of pastel colors, straight lines, and geometric figures in architecture but also adopted palm trees and neon lights. As a whole, it fully reflects the intellectual objective of the current.
To understand this, we must go back to the interwar period, a time when society founded a new cry for life because the hopelessness of the fighting had also brought an intellectual revolution in which the guidelines dictated by parents and grandparents were no longer valid. It was a time when industry promised to bring new ways of life and when it was necessary to build a society of change. Art Deco is full of messages; its forms and elegant response to a time when all things seemed to be broken, are a mirror of reality. The current hoped for the search for a prosperous society, at the core of which was faith in social change; it is the current of jazz, glamour, and luxury.
Those who visit Miami should walk in the vicinity of South Beach on Ocean Drive to have an open-air architectural museum. Miami is a district of light, beach, and nightlife, a place of authenticity because it has made geometric shapes, pastel colors, neon lights, palm trees, and the tropical to keep alive an architectural jewel that invites us to make with art a new way of seeing the world.
Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva