South Beach Deco

Miami's blast from the past is all the rage with today's hip set

Yellow and white, pastel pink, blue and green, the Art Deco Historic District in Miami's South Beach wears the colors of summer all year long.

Brightly colored Cadillacs with sweeping fins are parked in front of hotels spilling kitschy patio furniture onto busy sidewalks.

Once a neglected and crime-ridden neighborhood, South Beach began its rebirth in the early 1980s. With more than 800 buildings, most no taller than the surrounding palm trees, the district is one of the largest areas in the United States listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And now, it is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in town.

Visitors and locals hang out in sidewalk cafes where people-watching is a popular pastime. But it's the architecture, which has such a powerful style, that sets the tone for the whole area.

The art deco style, popular in the 1920s and '30s, derives from cubism. Based on geometric forms, deco translates into eye-pleasing lines and patterns in architecture, furniture, and textiles.

Parallel lines run into gentle curves. Lettering is simple and clean. An economy of line combines with the flair of color. In South Beach, deco complements a lifestyle of fun where color matches the sunny weather and nearby turquoise water.

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