Miami is the tropical equivalent of New York, the new art and design mecca, brimming with pure energy, hosting multiple Latino cultures, as well as the most interesting local and international avant-garde, featuring large-scale art installations, futuristic architecture, performance art, unusual exhibition spaces and redevelopment projects. All these became a part of the city landscape, drawing a new, sun-kissed skyline under the Florida sunshine.
The Art Déco District is essential to understanding the eclectic architecture and the cosmopolitan spirit of the city, and most of all, to satisfy the wish for flamingos and palms that have become a global obsession in the last few years! Miami Beach is the birthplace of Tropical Art Déco, a sort of pastiche of different styles, including Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco and Mimo (Miami Modernism). This trend involved over 800 buildings, built between 1920 and 1940, that line the way from Ocean Drive to Collins Avenue, with their rainbow splashes of pastel pink, ochre, baby blue and mint. Explore the hallways of these sumptuous hotels, and feel like you just stepped into the pages of The Great Gatsby!
Miami’s Design District was born during the boom of the 1920s, thanks to Theodore Moore, known as “the pineapple entrepreneur”, who moved to Florida from North Carolina, to start multiple plantations. He was a man of many passions, though, and he soon opened up his first furniture showroom, which was how the district started assuming its identity. This is the same location in which Craig Robins, art collector and construction company owner in South Beach, transformed a plot of abandoned warehouses into avant-garde exhibition spaces in the 1990s, when it then became a prominent location for architecture stars, fashion maisons and gourmet restaurants. Stroll around the contemporary buildings, while having a look at new trends in design at Oak Plaza, stop by at the Moore Building to visit a contemporary art exhibition, and wrap it up with some peace in a bamboo secret garden: the Enea Garden Lounge.
The Wynwood Art District is one of the most interesting urban redevelopment programs worldwide. In the mid-Noughties, this part of town was an industrial area undergoing deep decline, until it was converted into an open air museum, where emergent street artists from all over the world left their mark on walls and shutters, making the Wynwood Art District one of the go-to places for urban art. Have a stroll among the bright colors of the murals of Wynwood Walls, enjoy a break in a hipster bistrot, and shop for original stuff in the independent concept stores and pop-up shops.
Little Haiti & Little Havana. Only a cosmopolitan, multifaceted city like Miami can offer you such a meta-travel experience! These two communities created their own districts that look just like home, and host personal, vibrant art expressions; these are districts with a slower pace that immediately whisks us away from skyscrapers and luxury hotels. These two areas have strong identities and personalities, proudly preserving the energy of ancient cultures, while transporting us at the same time into the contemporary age, thanks to their street art, that tells us about their people.
Collins Park. In the heart of SoBe, South Beach, this area is becoming central to the contemporary art and architecture scenes, thanks to a series of private investors and big names in hospitality and culture that promote renovations and activity in the area. From The Bass Museum, which is set to reopen in Spring after complete renovation, to the works of land art that you can admire in gardens, such as the latest work by Ugo Rondinone at The Miami City Ballet, or the Miami Convention Center that is hosting the international Art Basel and Design Miami Fairs. Even their garage is a work of art, since it was designed by Zaha Hadid!
Pics: Elena di Marco