Miami Design District

Midtown Miami has four distinct neighborhoods.  Two of these are very different creative destinations:  Wynwood and the Design District.

We headed to the Miami Design District, en route to the Institute of Contemporary Art.  It was a surprise.  We had intended to stroll through the district en route to Big Art.  We ended up spending the morning.

It’s a work in progress, and it’s fresh and exciting.

The focus is art, luxury fashion, and architecture.  There’s also many fine restaurants and cafes, furniture galleries and relaxing outdoor spaces.

The Miami Design District figures large in the annual Art Basel event.  With over 70 art galleries (and that’s expected to double) there’s plenty to see.  And not just in the galleries, but on the streets and courtyards.  Art is everywhere.

Craig Robbins is the creative force behind this redevelopment.  He and his company, Dacra Development, were also instrumental in the South Beach Art Deco rehabilitation in the 1980’s.  He’s a visionary developer, philanthropist, and art collector.

So how did a born and bred Miami kid become a visually literate powerhouse? While a student in Barcelona he grew to appreciate art and architecture.  Moreover, he understands that these two things can define and enrich a city.

He bought his first piece of art, a Dali, while studying there.  He has since accumulated a large contemporary fine art collection.

He studied law, and learned the business side working with his fathers development company.  He also formed some important design partnerships along the way.

I tried opening the yellow door but no luck.

Plenty of reflective materials, both glass and mirrors.

Luxury fashion is everywhere.  The buildings they inhabit also reflect strong design elements, high quality construction and materials.  Here’s a sweet window dressing in Dior.

Intriguing textures everywhere the eye travels.  I like the fake bark concrete treatment juxtaposed with the water spigot.  Not an intentional art installation.

Intimate courtyards with sculptural conversation seating.  All so brand new the trees need supports.

Bold orange with an Americano at the Ella Cafe.

More finishing work in wonderful discrete passageways.  These cool and shady spaces are important in the often hot Miami climate.

A Buckminster Fuller dome provides an emblematic entrance to an under ground car park through a cool blue courtyard.

One of a kind stuffed robotic animals, and a sculpture gallery.

My old Volkswagen, but better.

Love is indeed the answer! Plenty more where this came from.  I always say, just collage in a photo of Einstein, and your good to go.

I was surprised by this inert security guard.  SF MOMA has one as well.  There’s lots of real security in the Design District.

Loads of colour everywhere.  Perfect in the intense Florida light.

Did you know the latest thing in architecture is parking garages?  The facade of this garage, and still adding finishing touches, sits across from the Art Museum.

Skeletal installation piece with water dripping slowly from a small hole above.

I alight on one of the many spots to sit, relax, and enjoy that warm Miami vibe.

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