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American Splendor: 1955

American Splendor: 1955

March 30, 1955. "Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach. General view of lobby. Morris Lapidus, architect." Gottscho-Schleisner photo. View full size.

 

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The Streets of Miami

I'm guessing this is the same place that Allan Sherman mentioned in his song "The Streets of Miami". "I'm going to the Fontainebleau / Pardner, it's mod'ner."

Best of both worlds

This lobby manages to be elegant and sophisticated yet tacky and cheesy. I like it and I don't.

Clearly a Staged Photo

No ashtrays. (Well, maybe one -- see if you can find it).

Goal

Lapidus always tried to make ordinary visitors feel extraordinary. He wanted the guests to feel like a Cary Grant or a Grace Kelly while they were in this hotel. To transport them to someplace 'special' and well removed from their normal lives.

And the title of the architect's autobiography is

"Too Much Is Never Enough," by Morris Lapidus (1996). This is a sly reference to the motto attributed to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, "Less is more" (even though he never actually said that, in English or in German).

Tres classy

All those Roman statues and busts make me want to drink tea with my pinky sticking straight out.

Opulent Extravaganza

If you thinks the lobby was something, take a gander at the building itself. A midcentury postcard is attached.

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