Celebrating a Century of Art Deco

Home to more than 800 Art Deco buildings, Miami’s glamorous South Beach is an architectural goldmine of 1930s pastel-colored gems. This year marks 100 years since the Art Deco architectural style was first developed, so as we start off 2020, we’re reflecting on some of our favorite iconic Art Deco style buildings. The famed architectural style has evolved since the 1920s, but continues to inspire designers, artists, and photographers today.
The city of Miami Beach celebrates Art Deco Weekend every year in January. In addition, there are weekly walking tours of the historic district for those interested.
Designed in 1939 by Henry Hohauser, credited as one of the principal architects behind the Deco styling of South Beach, The Webster is a classic example of Art Deco architecture in the area. The former hotel has been transformed into a high-end fashion boutique, but you can still admire the original polished terrazzo floors, gleaming staircases, and pastel-colored decor.

A much-loved icon of South Beach, The Breakwater Hotel was designed in 1936 by Yugoslavian architect Anton Skiskewicz, and sports clean, colorful lines and the archetypal symmetry emblematic of the Art Deco period. The 99-room boutique hotel was extensively renovated in 2011, restoring The Breakwater to its former glory.

Designed by architect RA Benjamin, the Colony Theatre opened its doors in 1935 as a Paramount cinema. Currently, it is one of the most fashionable performing arts venues in South Florida, hosting concerts, comedy acts, dance performances, operas, and film festivals. Showcasing bold lines and geometric patterns with neon lights and a pristine terrazzo floor, the building maintains all the integrity of its original Art Deco features.

The Cadillac Hotel, designed by Roy F. France, was constructed in the 1940s to resemble one of the brand’s premium motors, chrome center trim emblazoned with a glistening hood ornament. It stands proudly as one of the tallest Art Deco buildings on the beach. It is now owned by the Marriott hotel group, and was recently renovated, but it still retains its Art Deco charm, with terrazzo floors and palm-embossed ceiling adorning the lobby.

OBR’s Favorite Miami Buildings

Though Miami is known for its pastel-colored hotels on South Beach, its architecture is defined by a number of contrasting styles. Architects and developers have been transforming Miami’s cityscape into one of the new architectural capitals of America. From a contemporary luxury high-rise to a historical Spanish hotel, we’ve curated a list of our top 5 most iconic buildings.


The Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel was built in 1926 by hotel magnate John McEntee Bowman and land developer George Merrick, who combined his deep affection for lush South Florida landscape with a high regard for Italian, Moorish and Spanish architectural influences to create this architectural gem. The Biltmore Hotel was initially the tallest building in Florida at 315 feet and, today, its 23,000 square-foot pool is one of the largest hotel pools in the continental United States. The Biltmore’s rich history makes it Coral Gables’ most preeminent historic landmark.


1111 Lincoln

The iconic garage on the west end of Lincoln Road was designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron. The open-air structure rises seven stories and includes office space, retail, parking spaces and a mysterious rooftop penthouse. The seventh floor of the garage is also where 1111 Vibe hosts Skywave Yoga on Monday evenings. The view from the top overlooks Lincoln Road, Alton Road and as far as the shores of Biscayne Bay.


Solitair Brickell

Solitair Brickell, the latest luxury high-rise gracing Miami’s skyline, was recently completed by global architecture and design firm Stantec. The design of the 50-story building distinguishes itself with a unique angular, towering basket-weave design inspired by the majestic Medjool date palm tree popular in South Florida’s tropical landscape. Developed by ZOM Living, Solitair Brickell includes 483 residential units, millennial-friendly amenities and one of the highest rooftop resort-style pools in Miami.


New World Center

The New World Center is a concert hall in the heart of South Beach, home to the New World Symphony, a post-graduate orchestral academy. A collaboration between the symphony’s artistic director, 11-time Grammy award-winning conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, the building features multiple flexible spaces, cutting-edge media equipment, six stories of natural light and views of the iconic Miami Beach Art Deco skyline. A new 2.5-acre public park designed by the firm West 8, features the New World Center’s SoundScape park where New World Symphony WALLCAST concerts are presented on the building’s 7,000-square-foot projection wall.


One Thousand Museum

One Thousand Museum is a high-rise residential condominium under construction in Downtown Miami designed by the late Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid. When completed, the 62-story building is expected to rise over 700 feet, making it one of the tallest buildings in Miami. The design of the building distinguishes itself with the contrast between the robust exoskeleton and the crystalline glazing of the glass façade beneath it. Gregg Covin, Todd Michael Glaser, Louis Birdman, Kevin Venger, Gilberto Bomeny and Regalia Group are the developers.

Iconic National Hotel Miami Beach Re-Launches with Multi-Million Dollar Restoration and New Programming

The National Hotel Miami Beach, an Art Deco landmark in the heart of South Beach, has completed an extensive $12 million renovation in 2014, restoring the hotel to its original style and glamour.

Renovations began in 2010 with the hotel’s Cabana Building and continued to the original Historic Tower’s spacious guestrooms, meetings, and public venues.  Throughout, the hotel has worked diligently with the Historic Preservation League in order to restore the hotel’s Art Deco details. Read more

ADD Inc Miami Featured in Architectural Record

Architect Jonathan Cardello and his team at ADD Inc Miami are featured in Architectural Record for their multi-million dollar renovation and design of the historic Shelborne South Beach hotel.  To learn more and to view images about ADD Inc Miami’s take on the iconic 1940s hotel, click below.

ADD Inc Miami Completes Renovation of the Historic Shelborne South Beach

World-renowned modernist Igor Polevitzky designed it in 1940. Morris Lapidus, the architect of Miami Modern (MiMo) hotels added an extension to it in the 1950s. Now, architect and designer Jonathan Cardello of ADD Inc Miami revamps the Shelborne South Beach hotel setting a new standard for Miami Modern and Art Deco.

Owned by hotelier Keith Menin of Menin Hotels, the newly designed Shelborne South Beach takes the vice and virtues of the 40s and 50s and translates them into a modern interpretation.  ADD Inc Miami implemented a “naughty and nice” design theme to the hotel’s lobby, guestrooms, ballroom and pool bringing decadence to this historic property.

“The Shelborne’s new design showcases everything that South Beach stands for – excitement, invincibility, fashion and glamour; with legendary and top-notch services. With its grandiose entrance and reception area and excellent restaurants and facilities, this famous Art Deco landmark is now one of the hottest addresses on Miami Beach,“ Cardello says of the multi-million dollar project.

The Shelborne’s New Sleek Lobby:

Upon arrival at the Shelborne, guests are greeted with an interpretation of an original Morris Lapidus designed floating porte cochere and curved glass entry with a panoramic view of the lobby.

ADD Inc Miami’s lobby design focuses on tuxedo tones featuring prominent white walls while preserving the elegant effect with black accent pieces. Redefining luxury, the design incorporates a showpiece lobby featuring Maria Theresa crystal chandeliers glowing in soft amber while walls dressed with flowing drapery compliment white terrazzo floors. Framed with stark white lacquered material, the reception desk (also referred to as the “bubble desk”) contains rows of sparkling acrylic orbs illuminated from behind and a concierge desk wrapped in black stingray skin. Two dominant black Marquina Negro marble columns with channels of white veining counteract the starkness of the reception desk.

Past the reception desk is the Shelborne’s lobby lounge with black terrazzo, elegant black tufted lounges, pool table and photo wall bringing a modern feeling to the place.  To play with the black and white, naughty and nice theme of the hotel, the lounge walls are finished with black mirrors illuminated by glass sconces. Also part of the lobby scene, is the GuyandGirl Boutique and the nouveau Bar Tanaka, by Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka, one of Philadelphia’s most acclaimed sushi chefs.

In addition to Bar Tanaka, Vesper American Brasserie, which got its name from a James Bond movie, and the poolside taco stand Lucy’s Cantina Royale, are now part of Shelborne’s dinning experience. Crème Design created the interiors for the three restaurants.

Elegant Guest Rooms with Contemporary Style and Timeless Design:

The new hotel rooms mix the past with the present featuring a bold blend of black and whites, rich black and gray wall-to-wall contemporary carpet, modern furniture and Art Deco-styled accents. A timeless classic striped backdrop of gray and white frame the beds with tufted white headboards and bright decorative pillows. A screen wall with triangular motifs was created to resemble the pattern in the hotel’s original porte cochere structure.  The bathrooms feature custom wood and marble vanities and polished white marble flooring.

New Vined Loggia and Infinity Pool with Sexy Catwalk:

A walkway with white exterior walls and ceilings covered in live lush vines, banquettes with colorful pillows and glass guardrails lead guests to the new infinity pool. A sun deck with an arc of shower water connected by a catwalk bridge for dramatic entrances and MiMo style staircase with glass bubble roof is ideal for exclusive VIP lounging. Poolside cabanas with private showers and a beach garden surround the pool area.

Sophisticated Ballroom with Patterns Evoking the Shelborne’s Original MiMo Style:

For celebration and events, the new ballroom features a custom designed gray diamond carpet with floral motifs capturing the hotel’s original MiMo diamond façade.  Carrera marble walls and bars, white sheer drapery and linear crystal chandeliers add decadence to the space.

The Shelborne South Beach is located on 1801 Collins Avenue just blocks from Lincoln Road Mall, the Frank Gehry-designed New World Symphony, Ocean Drive, Bass Museum of Art, popular nightclubs and restaurants. For more information, visit

About ADD Inc Miami:

ADD Inc Miami provides a full scope of architecture, interior design, urban planning, branding and green design services.  Since 2002, the firm’s accomplished design team has been delivering notable results in the hospitality, retail, entertainment, mixed use, workplace and residential industries. Noteworthy ADD Inc Miami architectural projects in South Florida include the Shelborne South Beach; Miami’s first high intelligence robotic parking garage at 1826 Collins Avenue; The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater; Bayfront Amphitheater; the offices of BGT Partners; and Midtown 24 and the Village of Marbella mixed use projects. Founded in 1971, ADD Inc’s headquarters are located in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information on ADD Inc Miami, please call (305) 482-8700 or visit