Deborah Desilets Talks Morris Lapidus and Miami Architecture


I support

  • Local
  • Community
  • journalism

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of the New Times free.

When you stay at the Eden Roc Hotel or drive through Lincoln Road Mall, the architect Morris Lapidus is probably the last person that comes to mind. Deborah Desilets wants to change this with her book Morris Lapidus: An Architecture of Joy. Lapidus, both heralded and verbally abused during his career, caught Desilet’s first fantasy when she was five years old visiting her mother in a building he designed. She became an accomplished architect and designer, and even designed key pieces of furniture currently in use at the Fontainebleau Hotel (also designed by Lapidus).

Their admiration eventually turned into a labor of love when Desilets compiled over fifty years of the pioneering architect’s work in her book. Tonight she will be giving a book launch and signing copies at Books & Books in Bal Harbor. She will also perform at the Miami International Book Fair in November. Read on to find out what Desilets thinks of Miami’s architecture and her three favorite buildings in the world.

New Times: What made you admire Morris Lapidus’ designs?

Deborah Desilets: His “Beansticks, Cheese Holes and Woggles” placed

organic “anti-grid” interiors, in which its combinations of light, color,

Ornament and signage spoke volumes about being human.

Do you think architecture is an art?
(It is) the mother of all arts.

What do you think architecture students should focus on?
People, they are the customer.

What do you think about Miami architecture?
It is still a laboratory for design.

What are your three favorite structures in the world?
Pantheon. Jewish Museum Berlin. Brasilia Cathedral.

What did the world lose with the departure of Morris Lapidus?

A very human being.

Visit Books & Books at Bal Harbor (9700 Collins Ave., # 204, Bal

Harbor) tonight at 7:30 p.m. for a free book launch and book

Signing and an opportunity to hear Desilets Wachs poetically

Architecture and the man who titled his autobiography Too Much is Never

Enough. Call 305-864-4241 or visit

Keep The Miami New Times Free … Since we started the Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we want it to stay that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. Produce stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands with bold reporting, stylish writing, and staff everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature Writing Award to the Casey Medal for the Deservable Journalism have won. Given that the existence of local journalism amid siege and setbacks has a greater impact on advertising revenue, it is more important than ever for us to raise support for funding our local journalism. You can help by joining our I Support membership program which allows us to continue to cover Miami without paywalls.

Comments are closed.