Relevant categories: Art Deco,Bronzes
Art Deco goes tropical in Miami Beach...
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Imagine my delight when rummaging through my storage facility I found a box full of my old photos taken in Miami Beach for my A Level Art project. The photos were taken circa 1989 / 90 and were of the architecture of the Tropical Deco movement in South Beach Miami Beach. I guess this was the early foundations of Canonbury Antiques lifelong obsession with all things art deco. I also got an A for this project and my Art A Level overall, I might add! It was only the missed whim of a decision that took me away from art school to a more conventional degree in English Literature.
(Tropical Deco architecture of South Beach Miami from 1989)
Aggh, the years 1989 / 90 were so long ago now. My salad days. That wonderful time pre-internet and pre-mobile (cell) phones. Things moved at a slower pace then. The world seemed like a less scary place, a perception perhaps aided by my own - at the time - youthful innocence. Because of course it wasn't a less scary or dangerous place. Miami was coming through a very bloody time off the back of drug wars as the city was a major transit point for cocaine (and money) coming from Latin America with help from the Columbian Cartels.
(Flamingo Plaza, 1051 Meridian Ave Miami Beach - now luxury condos. Note the flamingos. )
As a family we used to visit Miami regularly as we owned a holiday home there just on Biscayne Bay as then - as now - the US was an important market for us in the antiques trade. Through our regular trips to South Florida and Miami I noticed the beautiful buildings of South Beach. There was something about the streamlined symmetry of the buildings that caught my attention - and then the candy pastel colours really gave that 1920s architectural look a tropical twist. I'd of course seen and noticed art deco architecture when visiting cities such as New York and my hometown of London - but the Miami twist gave it a sultry, humid and sexy spin. Alongside the streamlined modern look, there would be other tropical motifs such as palm trees and flamingos incorporated into the designs and freizes. I was in tropical deco heaven.
(Park Washington Hotel - love the glass / streamlined ocean liner motif)
It's worth noting that at the time South Beach was very run down and dilapidated - this was long before South Beach became the over-inflated uber rich VIP enclave that it is too day with astronomical property prices to match. South Beach of 1989 had a run down slightly seedy feel to it - which was perhaps further part of it's attraction to me. It's then immediate history would have had characters like Crockett and Tubbs from 'Miami Vice' or Tony Montana from 'Scarface' running around it. I imagine you could buy a lot of the property there then for next to nothing. If I had money to invest we could have made a fortune. Also at the time the buildings weren't really protected or preserved, faded paint and broken signage were common. Now the art deco district of Miami Beach is a protected heritage area with regular tours that attract people from all over the world.
Looking at the photos - taken with a real analogue camera of course - I love how they have faded with time. A natural filter that you don't need any Instagram pre-sets to fully appreciate. There's also some scratches and blemishes to the prints which only adds to their charm, like the aged patina to an oak table or the pop and fizz of listening to real music on real vinyl. Also looking at the photos I can smell the dank humidity of the place - overcast, sweaty and humid. I'm really chuffed that as a young man wandering Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington Avenue, my creativity would find a digital home and appreciation all these years later.
(Text book deco - Ocean liner look for the sultry South Beach breezes)
The art deco fascination continues - it's my favourite epoch aesthetically. The look is enduring and works in all interiors both modern and of course vintage. As such this is reflected in a lot of our product purchases and lines. I believe we have one of the most extensive art deco bronze collections in the country. We are also packed to the rafters with art deco furniture of all shapes and sizes. I wanted to also say all colours as it would be great if someone started designing art deco furniture in those candy pastel colours - time for the tropical deco furniture movement anyone?
Looking at the photos I see famous and iconic buildings such as The Carlyle, Berkeley Shore, Delano, Greystone, Flamingo Plaza, Fairmont, Park Washington Hotel, Breakwater, Sands and Ritz Plaza. My next project will be to do before and after photos - finding contemporary photos of these buildings and putting them next to my photos now taken over 25 years earlier. Please scroll down for more photos of Miami South Beach Tropical Deco architecture:
(The Carlyle Hotel on Ocean Drive, Miami Beach - as seen in Scarface. Search for it on YouTube, the famous chainsaw scene too gruesome to show the video here)
(Fairmont Rooms and Apartments - looking a bit flea bitten back in the 80s)
(The Berkeley - now a luxury boutique hotel on Collins Ave)
(Greystone - 1920 Collins Ave. Even the street number is art deco...)
(Hot and sweaty deco - note storm clouds)
(The National - also on Collins and now a refurbished luxury hotel with period fixtures)
(The Greystone - does it get more 1920s than this?)
(The Delano - also now a luxury boutique hotel. I must revisit..)
(Where's Crockett and Tubbs when you need em?)
(Breakwater - 940 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach )
Pair Art Deco Bedside Cabinets Chests Nightstands Bedroom Furniture
Art Deco Chest Drawers Commode Blonde Walnut 1920s Furniture
Chiparus Art Deco Bronze Figurine Borzoi Dogs Statue French
Art Deco Bronze The Smoker Male Statue by J.C Leyendecker
The Georgian era is a period in British history from 1714 to c. 1830–37, named after the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III and George IV.
The Sheffield silver plate epergne - the centrepiece to any dinner setting just to switch the event up a notch or two...
Chinoiserie refers to a form of decorative art used in the West but which borrowed heavily from Chinese techniques and motifs