When you take a spectacular piece of early modernist architecture, such as this streamlined moderne house on Pine Tree Drive by important Miami Beach architect Igor Polevitzkty, and give it some bland contemporary renovations that are supposed to "improve" it while blending in with the existing architecture, the results often leave something to be desired.
When architectural critic and curator John Margolies took these photos in the early days of South Beach's art deco revival, from approximately 1980 to 1990, many thought it was a lost architectural cause, or perhaps not even worth the effort. But Margolies's photos document the raw beauty of South Beach's architecture at the time and are a stark comparison to what came later, as anybody who has seen what South Beach has become can immediately tell. These were the dark days of Miami Beach's art deco resurgence, but the light would soon come.
Designed by Achille Salvagni, an Italian designer and architect who has done some incredible yacht interiors but also has a flair for midcentury Italian design, this 7,400 square foot new-build in Mid-Beach was designed almost like a superyacht itself. The house has curvilinear lines and fabulous materials, creating custom elements like a kitchen that looks more like a sculptural art installation than a place to make food, and a bronze and gold grand staircase. It's also got a pool that, at 90 feet in length, spans almost the entire 111-foot width of the property itself. Originally listed for $21 million in March, it got a price cut to $19 million, according to the MLS, in May.
Miami Beach, a city of hotels, is often known for its most famous establishments of yesterday and today: places like the Fontainebleau, the Eden Roc, and the Delano. But there are scores of lesser-known hotels that have come and gone and often show different, more surprising sides to the beach. A catalog of hotel postcards from the University of Miami Libraries shows some of the big famous hotels, but even more smaller establishments that have been almost forgotten over the years. Check them out, this way.
You may have noticed more than a few updates to the Big Bubble in recent weeks. That's right, the site is getting a big revamp! Doesn't it look fabulous? And now that everything is super sleek, you can expect some even more fabulous new content, including an upgraded newsletter. In the meantime, we have a bit of housekeeping to do. The Big Bubble Newsletter will now be sent from email@example.com.
Chayo Frank, architect of the famously eclectic Amertec Building in Hialeah, has listed his own home, an equally bold creation in Ponce-Davis, for $14.995 million. Although the Amartec Building, a freeform concrete structure that looked like a fantastical abstraction of a sea monster, was demolished a few years ago, Frank's house, luckily, is beautifully pristine.
How many cities have giant icons of their names, spelled out in huge, towering letters? The one that pops instantly to mind is the Hollywood Sign, above the neighborhood of Hollywood in Los Angeles, which is close enough, and, well, that's it really. Now, Jacksonville, up in the northeastern corner of Florida, is getting a giant name tag too.
The legendary Palm Bay Club had its glorious halcyon days in the 1960s, and '70s, when it was the epitome of glamour for the jet-set cafe society glitterati of its day. Not only did residents have to be rich, but they had to be a lot of fun, according to its creator Connie Dinkler.
Ever dreamed of living in the lavish Everglades Suite in the tower of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables? Well, that might not happen, but here's your chance to buy a penthouse that was obviously inspired by that legendary perch at the top of the Biltmore, and it's also in Coral Gables. Located at the top of the Segovia Tower, this eight bedroom, twelve bath, 8,000 square foot spread was built in the mid-90s, instead of the 1920s-era Biltmore, but it comes with all the wingdings of a lavish '90s penthouse in the sky, including a double-height living room just like the Everglades Suite, and all sorts of other interesting spaces.