Miami Beach architecture legend Morris Lapidus’ legacy burns bright with new book, furniture line


Normally, when you see Atlanta P.R. goddess Liz Lapidus at a stylish soiree, she’s hard at work representing a client.
But at tonight’s six o’clock book-signing for author Deborah Desilets at West Midtown’s Switch Modern, Lapidus is helping to pay tribute to her grandfather, the revered Miami Beach architect Morris Lapidus.
Desilets is in town to sign copies of her gorgeous new coffeetable tome “Morris Lapidus: An Architecture of Joy” (Rizzoli, $65). The book salutes Lapidus’ greatest structural achievements, including the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc hotels in Miami Beach and celebrates his theatrical flair with department stores, synagogues and restaurants as well. The legendary Fontainebleau hotel reopened in 2008 after a two-year, multi, multi-million dollar renovation.
Switch Modern is also carrying items from the Morris Lapidus Collection furniture line by Dennis Miller Associates. The reproductions were originally designed by Lapidus for his hotel clients. 
Liz Lapidus has also loaned watercolors done by her granddad from her personal collection for tonight’s signing. She tells Intel she’s thrilled that Lapidus, who died in 2001 at age 98, is finally being feted.
“Deborah’s book is just beautiful,” says Lapidus. “It’s such an homage to the scope of his work. Growing up, I didn’t necessarily focus on that work. He was just my grandpa and I loved him.  I think it really hit me when I went to the re-opening of the Fontainebleau. It just took the breath out of me.”
Lapidus is also grateful for the post-modern reassessment of Lapidus’ work since it was often scorned by the American Institute of Architects during his lifetime.
“I’m so thrilled that his legacy is out there being celebrated,” Lapidus says. “He wasn’t so honored when he was alive. I mean, here’s a guy who was kicked out of the [Florida] AIA. He was a rebel. So, it’s very gratifying to see his work being honored in this way.”
The book-signing runs from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at Switch Modern at 1193 Howell Mill Road. For info, go to the store’s website.

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