The principal architects of deco South Beach were New Yorkers Henry Hohauser and L. Murray Dixon. The Celino Hotel, which was known as the Park Central Hotel (630 Ocean Drive) until 2019 is one of Hohauser's best efforts, dating back to 1937 and featuring bold vertical bands and window "eyebrows." In the early 1980s, this area was a bad crime spot, a natural setting for the gory violence in Brian De Palma's movie Scarface, which was shot at 728 Ocean Drive, as well as much of the action in hit crime show Miami Vice.
The buildings of South Beach were originally painted white with subtle pastel trim. The candy colors came along in the 80s when interior designer Leonard Horowitz devised a palette of tones to draw attention to the architecture—and away from the squalor.
Art Deco Miami is an architectural wonder. The city has the highest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world, and their preservation has saved the South Beach skyline from becoming a canyon of condos. Amazingly, these buildings were almost destroyed by developers in the early 1970s. Their survival is due to a handful of activists who, in 1976, founded the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). With their help, a number of the best Miami hotels, and even some South Beach clubs, have maintained their beautiful façades and historical designation. Looking to explore Art Deco? Miami, look no further than these vibrant structures.
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