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In 1955, the Fontainebleau Hotel Was Irrepressibly Glamorous

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Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the Library of Congress's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.


Despite existing for six decades in an area as development-crazy as Florida's Miami Beach, the Fontainebleau Hotel, a curving white whale now emblematic of the area's cornerless and color-sapped Art Deco period, remains one of the region's most significant buildings. The jewel of Miami's Gold Coast (and, interestingly, a set in 1964's Goldfinger) was designed in the 1950s by midcentury starchitect Morris Lapidus, a fellow who was later known for crafting glamorous spaces. "If you create the stage setting and it's grand, everyone who enters will play their part," he's said. With hotel design, he envisioned himself a salesperson peddling a promise of a good time, and the Fontainebleau, with its acres of lounge chairs, curving pools, and glitzed-out foyers, sold the dream with ease. These photos, plucked from the Library of Congress's Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, were taken in 1955, just a year after the hotel's grand opening.

· Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida [Library of Congress' Gottscho-Schleisner Collection]
· All Monochromes posts [Curbed National]
· All Dwelling posts [Curbed National]