Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Visit To Miami Beaches Art Deco District on Ocean Drive!

As some of you know we just moved to Florida and we love it. We are excited about visiting all different areas of the state. I thought I might post images and thoughts of these areas as we visit them
Yesterday  Phyllis and I visited Miami's famous South Beach, to check out the area, before our shoot there during the Miami Art Deco Weekend.  It will be held during the weekend of January 14,15 and 16th. and sounds like a pretty exciting and fun weekend. We arrived around 1PM and after meeting with Amanda Bush of the Miami Design Preservation League (http://www.mdpl.org/) who are running the weekend, we started out  to explore the area. What an area this is for a Monday it was packed, of course it was the day of the Orange Bowl but we were told that during this time of the year it is normally busy.   There are also many hotels some built in the 30s, many with the art deco look, which are just fascinating to see. You might wonder what is Art Deco, instead of me trying to explain it below is a description copied from the league's web page

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.

Art Deco — What to look for
Over-all symmetry, ziggurat (stepped) rooflines, glass block, decorative sculptural panels, eyebrows, round porthole windows, terrazzo floors, curved edges and corners, elements in groups of three, neon lighting (used in both exteriors as well as interior spaces). 
There are also many new hotels that look very expensive, that  look out over the beach. But the Art Deco are the stars and there are some great examples on Ocean Drive and this alone would be a great reason to visit but there are many things to do here including the wonderful Miami beach. White sand, blue sky and warm water that is my idea of a great beach. If your hungry from all the swimming or site seeing your in luck there are many types of restaurants . You want Italian it is here, a hot dog its here and naturally seafood really fresh seafood. We decided to try Cuban food at Larios restaurant located  on Ocean Drive. We were seated immediately at a table right in front of the restaurant, this is the usual seating in all the restaurants we saw. It is not private lol but it adds to the excitement and atmosphere of being there.
 The food was great, I had grilled fish with moro rice and plantains, Phyllis had a grilled seafood dish that I had to help finish. Excellent food, service and the Mojitos were also really good. Phyllis said the best she has ever had.
The great thing about sitting out side was that it allows you to do what is maybe the more interesting activity and that is people watching. This is prime people watching territory lol. You see young guys walking up the street selling their CDs, young women with trays hung from there necks selling " cigarettes , cigars, cigarettes, cigars". I thought for sure I would see a bell boy yelling "Call for Phillip Morris" ( if your younger then 50 you might not get that reference lol) You might also see the best example of " not everyone can or should wear a bikini". Especially when they are in there 50s ( a guess) and a bearded man. You will also see many people that belong on a beach, great looking men and women can be seen everywhere.
We also saw a commercial being shot, many families walking Ocean Drive and many classic cars parked on the street. Including one with Bogie in the front seat.
There was a giant pink snail sitting there looking very peaceful and bright !!  People are walking, riding biking, para sailing and some just laying in the grass.
We saw the Versace house, in front of which is where he was killed, it is now a private club.
Photographically it is a very colorful place and affords the opportunity for nature/ landscape, street candids, portraiture, food and architecture photography all on one street.

We can't wait for the Art Deco Weekend, should be one exciting weekend and we both would recommend people visiting then. If you see us say hello and Smile when we  take your picture!!



Versace House

Some just rest in the sun

Great place for street photography!

Not all are fortunate!

 One End of Ocean Drive

Commercial being shot

Bike riding




Street Photography

Wonderful Seafood


Bikini's dont work for everyone!!!



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