Fontainebleau Through the Years
Designing the Fontainebleau
Morris Lapidus, whose Orthodox Jewish family had fled Russian pogroms when he was an infant, designed the Fontainebleau in 1953 as an antidote to stuffy, clubby WASP bastions. Florida’s grand hotels “made the middle class and New York Jews feel out of place,” says Lapidus’ son Alan, also a hotel architect. “My father got his impression of elegance from the movies—like Busby Berkeley musicals. He designed the Fontainebleau for immigrants who had earned their money and wanted to show off.” The Fontainebleau opened in 1954 and is considered the most significant building of Lapidus’ career.