Art Deco: A Gift Of The Pharaohs

Before arriving in Miami, I had heard all about the much anticipated art deco scene from friends and family (and Miami Vice, of course), but it was still somewhat of a mystery to me. Walking around Ocean Drive, the blocks upon blocks of bright pastels and bold shapes made me wonder about its ancient origins. And ancient they are... Although art deco looks ultra-modern, it dates back to the days of Egyptian tombs. In fact, it was the discovery of King Tut's tomb in the 1920's which opened the door to this enticing style. The stark lines, bold colors and zig-zag architectural features were added to objects placed in the tomb meant to entertain and enlighten the sleeping kings. Americans loved this style, who were going through the "roaring 20's" and were drawn to the eclectic look. To them, it was a symbol of decadence and extravagance, qualities their generation embraced. Art, architecture, jewelry and fashion were all heavily influenced by the bold colors and sharp lines of the movement.

So back to Miami. In 1910, John Collins and Carl Fisher undertook the daunting task of transforming the island now known as Miami Beach from a mangrove swamp to a tourist destination. It just so happened that when they were working on the coast, Ocean Drive, the art deco movement was in full swing. Proving to stand the test of time, year after year people flock from all over to enjoy this gift of the pharaohs, art deco.