Admirers of the pastels and streamlined forms of Miami Beach's Art Deco hotels and apartment houses came from around the world to learn from preservationists who helped establish the nation's first historic Art Deco district.

The weekend event was the first annual World Congress of Art Deco.Delegates from Argentina to Australia discussed preservation tactics and Art Deco sites around the world. They also hoped to establish an international plan to conserve the style of architecture that got its name from the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925.

Art Deco, a sleek, elegant style associated with wealth and sophistication, took hold as the nation entered the Depression. Blue and pink concrete "painted ladies" provided the backdrop for "Miami Vice" and helped popularize Art Deco all over again.

In 1979, a square-mile Miami Beach district of 800 Art Deco and Mediterranean revival buildings was put on the National Register of Historic Places.

Leaders of the Art Deco Society of Western Australia told of demonstrations in Perth to protect Art Deco buildings. "It's been a battlefield of preservation," said society president Vyonne Geneve.