Immerse yourself in Florida's coolest design scene
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 2/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Miami offers the best of both worlds: distinguished cultural attractions and decadent distractions, cosmopolitan bustle and miles of quiet, pristine beaches. No wonder everyone's flocking to the city of sun—whether to take in South Beach's art deco splendor, buy a second (or third) home, or scour the abundant and varied resources for a perfect armoire.
A survey of what's new and notable in the area begins 20 minutes north of the city, at the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach. The already sprawling complex, the world's largest, has just completed a major expansion overseen by RTKL Associates (formerly the Howard Snoweiss Design Group). The 225,000-square-foot atrium addition provides space for new tenants and lines—including William Switzer, Ralph Pucci, Hokanson Southern, and Groundworks—and has allowed many established showrooms to expand or relocate within the building. Look for the spruced-up homes of Brunschwig & Fils, Decorators Walk, PierceMartin, and others on your next trip.
Back in the Design District, things are equally abuzz. Poltrona Frau's dramatic new space, courtesy of Vignelli Associates, debuted just in time for holiday shopping; Kartell, Odegard, Poliform, and Valcucine will open soon. The district's 90-member merchants' association recently mobilized to elect its first president, the outgoing John Protomaster of Protomaster & Company, and spearhead joint promotional efforts: coordinated openings, neighborhood sample sales, and the like.
And expect more big things from developer Craig Robins, whose vision and drive revitalized the Design District in the mid-'90s. He's planning new buildings and restaurants as well as more green space for the neighborhood. The exclusive residential development that his real-estate company, Dacra, is constructing is located on the tip of Allison Island—and the tip of everyone's tongue. This new gated community, Aqua, is being built according to a master plan by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (of Seaside fame) and will feature modernist town houses and luxury apartment buildings by such luminaries as Alexander Gorlin, Hariri & Hariri, Emanuela Frattini Magnusson, and Alison Spear.
Real-estate hunters seeking a more urban experience should investigate Winwood, a resurgent neighborhood south of the Design District. The developer is Lombardi Properties, whose warehouses and lofts are home to an ever increasing roster of creative professionals and artists.
In town for just a quick visit? You're in luck—a bevy of new South Beach hotels is giving the Delano a run for its money. The Shore Club has been a hot topic recently, for both the luscious David Chipperfield decor and frequent appearances in the gossip pages. Other newcomers include the neighboring Townhouse, designed by India Mahdavi; the stately Palms by Patrick Kennedy; and the Sagamore, which boasts a stellar art collection. After shopping in style, why not stay in style, too?