ML - Maison & Objet Americas

Maison & Objet Americas - 2016 - Issue 1


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68 m a i s o n - o b j e t. c o m m i a m i m&O m&O Only a century agO, Miami was a blank can- vas: an exotic city by the sea where pioneers envisioned a nd bu i lt a playg rou nd for t he wea lt hy a s wel l a s a new center for trade to boost the American economy. Since then, the Magic City has evolved into a modern met ropolis, brimming with high desig n, that att racts visitors, entrepreneurs, and the international elite. In the last decade alone, three areas—the Design District, Br ickel l, a nd Wy nwood— have t ra nsfor med M ia m i from a paint-by-numbers landscape into a masterpiece whose neighborhoods have distinct personalities, cel- ebrated design features, and endless charm. 4 The Design DisTricT A ny conver sa t ion about desig n i n M ia m i mu st , of course, begin with the Design District. A onetime pine- apple farm, the area's present character began to take shape i n t he 192 0 s, when T heodore Moore bu i lt h is first furniture store in the neighborhood. Through the booms and busts of Miami's short history, the furniture district rose and fell, until the local real estate develop- ment company Dacra began acquiring property there in the mid-'90s, renovating the Moore and Melin build- ings and bringing in Holly Hunt to open a showroom. "This was the first new project where design was being shown on the street and you didn't need a license to walk in the shops," says Craig Robins, CEO and president of Dacra. "In its moment, it was a radical thing that was going against the grain." In the last decade, Art Basel has introduced the international contemporary art market to this furniture- design town, fine restaurants like Michael's Genuine Food & Drink have opened their doors, and DesignMiami has launched an annual contemporary design and fur- niture show, further elevating the district's stature. "At that point, we're not just a fun-in-the-sun place; we're also a global city of cultural substance," says Robins. "It was an amazing transition for Miami, and having the Design District play a central role in that was so exciting." Once Dacra and L Real Estate joined forces in 2010 and formed Miami Design District Associates, upscale fashion swept into town, beautifying the neigh- borhood with world-class design and art. Stroll around t he Desig n Dist rict today and you'll see outstanding works like Buckminster Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome, Xavier Veilhan's larger-than-life Le Corbusier, and Zaha Hadid's Elastika, which reshaped t he Moore Building. Ot her large-scale pieces—such as Marc Newson's 100-foot-long Dash Fence, at Desig n a nd A rchitecture Senior High School, and Konstantin Grcic's Netscape, a web of 24 hanging chairs—give the district the cachet of a first-class gallery, offering spectacular works of art at every turn and sharpening the area's focus on design. "Really, we just embellished on the DNA of the Design District," says Robins. "The addition of fashion allowed us to do things in a more elaborate way. We had more resources because [fashion] increased the value of the neighborhood." T he bu i ld i ng s cha nged a s wel l. T he Pa l m Court complex, with its cobalt-blue glass façade, is a brilliant piece of design by Sou Fujimoto, while eminent Japanese architects Jun Aoki and Mirei Uchibe created the luxurious four-story Louis Vuitton flagship store, turning high-end shopping into an exercise in design appreciation. The arrival of Bulgari, Valentino, Tom Ford, Hermès, Dior, and many other luxury labels further transformed the district and the shopping experience. "It's a neighborhood that's very different from t he k ind of oppor t unit y t he fa shion bra nds a re nor - mally offered," Robins explains, "so they're inspired to do these flagship stores, but also stores that are creative in a different way because we celebrate art and design." One wouldn't hire Jun Aoki to design a store in a mall, he points out. Even the parking structures here are photo- worthy. For the western face of the City View Garage, architect Leong Leong created a foliage-style pattern from titanium-coated stainless steel panels, while the eastern side features an IwamotoScott design employ- i ng a d ig it a l ly fabr icated modu lated met a l screen. Acclaimed artist John Baldessari added two murals—Fun (Part 1) and Fun (Part 2)—that let art-loving district visi- tors know what to expect from the moment they arrive. "T he idea is t hat you ca n wa lk a round t he Design District and it's like an outdoor museum, with a r t , desig n , a rch it ect u re, g r aph ic desig n , i n st a l la - tions," Robins says. "When you combine it all, it's an exciting place." As spectacular as it is from the outside, the district's interiors are just as impressive. Stores such as Loewe —w it h it s ma ssive 18t h- cent ur y g ra na r y f ront and center—have incorporated works of art into their spaces in organic and interesting ways. "It's just bril- liant," says Robins. T he d i s t r ic t 's g r ow t h c ont i nue s w it h t he arrival of new stores like Rag & Bone, Tory Burch, Saint "e idea is that you can walk around the Design District and it's like an outdoor museum, with art, design, architecture, graphic design, installations. When you combine it all, it's an exciting place." — craig robins High Design: Fendi ( top left) and Cartier ( top right) are among the roster of luxury brands living in the Design District; IwamotoScott's City View Garage ( bottom right) adds tropical flair and more shopping; Zaha Hadid's Elastika ( bottom left) helped reshape the Moore Building.

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