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Art Deco Vignette - Streets of Miami Beach

The stucco-ness of the architecture was seen as a flaw by critics. It was seen as not as serious, materially poorer than “Big City” Deco, like in NY or Paris, even kitsch. But they missed the point because Miami Beach is relevant precisely because of its regional tropical resort interpretation of global Art Deco. It expresses Depression Age optimism, and user experience – it’s a resort, travelers come here to have a good time, and buildings were designed to reinforce exactly that, hence the architecture of joy. Tropical Deco was shaped by a sense of fantasy controlled by an overriding geometric discipline. The utopia of the new world, of faith in a machine age that would be lyrical, spirited and light, not somber, harsh, and dark. It yearned to look modern and to feel new. The city’s visual culture has evolved increasingly around the idea of Florida’s uniqueness and its potential for exotic. These surroundings became topical generators of new ornamentation.

At a time when life was grim, people’s spirit and optimism manifested in Miami Beach’s new expression of playful dream-like Art Deco, full of futuristic flamboyance. It was a budget-friendly Fantasy World, capturing tourist’s attention and stimulating their escapist utopia, allowing them to forget about painful reality. And now, we have a paradise of nostalgia - the most densely concentrated Art Deco district in the world. The retro dream is alive, full of raw visual appeal.

That romantic approach is used in everyday structures, small hotels, apartment buildings, and commercial buildings, which you cannot find much in other places. Art Deco structures here are more than just an assemblage of individual buildings, they make the whole city, turning the streets into vibrant vignettes that define the city's unique identity.

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