Saturday, August 1, 2009

Book: Tropical Deco by Laura Cerwinske (1991)

Born out of fantasy and speculation, designed for fun and profit, Miami Beach has been, from its inception, a city of mythical composition. Its famed Art Deco District was designated a Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and today the area is basking in a revival of interest and attention.  At the time of this book's debut (1991), despite a new palette of confectionery colors and the renovation of numerous buildings, the Art Deco District was still in need of urban cultivation, of a reinterpretation that transcends its original resort identity. Fashion photographers and entrepreneurs, artists, developers, restaurateurs and club owners flock to the neighborhood,  after years of deterioration and neglect, to see South Beach recreate itself out of its own forgotten glamour.

Author Laura Cerwinske introduces Tropical Deco: The Architecture and Design of Old Miami Beach by discussing both the area's past and its future. Throughout her comprehensive exploration of the most concentrated neighborhood of Art Deco buildings in the world, she details the style's evolution and examines its design.

Tropical Deco: The Architecture and Design of Old Miami Beach treats its readers to a delightful view of a unique adaption of a historic architectural style. For, while Miami Beach's Art Deco architecture derives its stylistic roots from the streamlined and electric visions of the cosmopolitan North, Tropical Deco design is much softer and more temperately seductive. These are buildings whose narrative and evocative nature is at once sophisticated, naive and filled with humor.