What would the night sky be without its bright stars? What would Miami Beach be without the art deco buildings that line the avenues on the oceanfront?
Art Deco weekend, which takes place practically this year from 14 to 17 January, offers a series of lectures, tours of houses, dance classes and pop shows that carry the importance of preserving the centuries-old architectural form decorative Art because it is inextricably linked to the initial development of Miami Beach and continues to define the city.
Daniel Ciraldo is the executive director Miami Design Conservation League. His organization has hosted Art Deco Weekend over the past 44 years as part of its mission to preserve and protect the architectural, cultural and environmental integrity of Miami Beach.
“Art deco is a key part of Miami’s visual identity,” says Ciraldo New Times. “The neon buildings along Ocean Drive, in addition to the fluttering palm trees and crystal blue water on the beach, form the basis of our picture from a postcard that attracts millions of visitors each year.”
The theme of this year’s event, “No Place Like Home,” is borrowed from a 1939 cinematic classic whose Emerald City sets are replete with elements of art deco: The Wizard of Oz.
Ciraldo says designs from the past could have implications for the present moment.
“The birth of art deco and modern architecture in the early 20th century was born in part in response to the 1918 pandemic. From that, more open spaces, courtyards, transverse ventilation and other design typologies grew. So, in many ways, the past is a prologue “, explains Ciraldo. “The second topic of the program is how we are all connected, even though we are virtual this year. The world is in a challenging time with COVID-19, as well as divisions in our country. We looked at how we could bring together people who may have political differences but who share common values in their support of Art Deco. It was also an opportunity to connect with our colleagues from around the world to celebrate this style of design. “
The events begin tonight, January 14, with a speech by Silvia Barisione, chief curator of the Wolfsonian-FIU, a museum located in the heart of the Art Deco district of Miami Beach. Barisione will highlight art and design items from the 1920s and 30s from the collections of Wolfsonian and his sister museum Wolfsonian in Genoa, Italy, which show a gradual transition from decorative to simple and functional.
Barisione says the change in design sensibility has paved the way for a new, more egalitarian and inclusive lifestyle after Americans recovered from the Great Depression, a lifestyle that art deco hotels along Ocean Drive preserve like postcards from the past.
“Architectural architecture is more democratic, using local materials such as limestone and terrazzo floors. You rarely see Italian marble floors in art deco hotels on Miami Beach. They are very beautiful, but not spectacular, ”explains Barisione.
Other events include a conversation about Bombay’s art deco boom in the 1930s with Mustansir Dalvi, a professor of architecture at Sir JJ College of Architecture in Mumbai; tours of acclaimed art deco homes like the Hollyhock House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles project, and the Saarinen House just outside Detroit; dance lessons in styles popular during art deco, such as Charleston; and a variety of Spekeasy-themed shows on Friday and Saturday nights, including live jazz, magicians and swing dancing. Those who adapt are encouraged to “train a deco” and pour themselves a cocktail or mocktail.
Ciraldo says, “These free events are a fun way to celebrate and help establish a deeper understanding of the many elements of art and culture derived from this period.”
Barisione hopes the Art Deco weekend attendees will gain a deeper appreciation for the Art Deco architecture, which not only formed the identity of Miami Beach as a seaside resort in the 1930s, but continues to attract the astonished views of visitors and residents alike.
“I would like people to be more aware of the beauty of this historical style. It is a very resistant architecture; more buildings can be preserved. How many houses were demolished to build these dice without character? “He says.” I’ve been in Miami for almost ten years and I’ve seen these art deco houses being torn down and I think, “How can that happen?”
Art Deco weekend. From Thursday, January 14 to Sunday, January 17; artdecoweekend.com. Admission is free.
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