A Day in Miami’s Growing Design District

Miami has many attractions — its beach and nightlife are legendary. But the city has a thriving design district that is a major draw, whether you’re interested in luxury clothes, shoes and accessories, or high-end design for your home.

Miami Poltrona Frau ExteriorView in gallery

Round lounge chair settingView in gallery

I just spent a few days in the Miami Design District, perusing the amazing offerings by major home brands and boutique designers. It’s a treat for the senses, both inside and out. It’s also still evolving, with many improvements and additions underway. According to the Miami Design District website, the district will soon include public art installations like the Buckminster Fuller Fly’s Eye Dome.

Miami FLOS-signView in gallery

This section of Miami is part of midtown and will eventually encompass 21 acres. Right now, the most bustling part is a six- to eight-block area filled with high-end merchants and restaurants. It began to take shape about 15 years ago when developer Craig Robins envisioned the potential and began buying up land, and now lures luxury retailers like Pucci, Louis Vuitton, Mui Mui and Cartier.

Omern Arbel WallView in gallery

In home design, the district has large companies like Poliform and Fendi along with independent designers like Niba home and Onara. Here’s a sampling of what you can find in the Miami Design District:

Jonathan Adler

Well-known potter and designer Jonathan Adler’s store is a mod treat.  From tongue-in-cheek canisters for your secrets and white lies, to Sputnik lighting of all sizes, there’s something for everyone.  Most fun were all the accessories.

Adler Chair with eye pillowView in gallery

This cute needlepoint pillow is an unexpected accent to his Mrs. Godfrey chair. It is upholstered in an ikat-like fabric in Marrakech coral.The legs are done in Wenge.

Jonathan Adler Gem BoxesView in gallery

These glowing orbs on the table caught my eye from way across the store. Luminous and luxe, the Globo boxes are just stunning. Perfect for any room, they can hide away little stashes of just about anything, thanks to a removable cup liner that can be washed.

Jonathan Adler Lucite AnimalsView in gallery

Love animals?  Me too! Right now some of Adler’s hottest accessories are animal shapes, like this adorable lucite giraffe.  The are made in Adler’s Soho pottery studio, where ceramicists hand sculpt the animal model and then cast in in lucite.

Onare

I walked directly into the sleek showroom of this Brazilian company, drawn in by the clean modern designs I could see through the window. Ornare is an ultra-luxury brand and it shows in the stunning closet, kitchen and bath collections. It might be not be familiar to much of the American market, but in Brazil it’s a famous brand.  The design associate explained to me that the focus of the brand is a promoting a high quality of life to its customers through unique products that are high quality and high tech.

Blonde Wood Kitchen from OnareView in gallery

This amazing kitchen is by designer Guto Indio Da Costa. The clean minimalist design is a breath of fresh air.

Miami District Closet InteriorView in gallery

Ornare has a variety of customizable closet systems that use interesting materials, such as leather or a breathable mesh for the doors.They’re all dream closets that could keep just about anyone organized.

Modus Miami

There are some really mazing pieces in the Modus Miami showroom, which carries high end designs from some of the top Italian designers in the furniture industry such as Molenti & C, Dada, ARMANI / Dada, and Terzani.

Domino Pouf Doda ArmchairView in gallery

This luxe and modern setting includes the Domino Pouf in leather and the Doda armchair, both by Molten & C. Either one of these pieces could easily fit into just about any style of living space.

Molteni Teso TableView in gallery

We’re in love with this Teso table by Molten. It’s a large round table but the glass top and airy base keep it from being overwhelming.  The Modus Miami showroom also has a number of kitchens. closets and other room settings that are very inspiring.

Jalan, Jalan

Quite different from its neighbor but no less appealing is Jalan. I could easily have browsed this amazing design store for hours because there are so many fascinating pieces.

The shop, whose name means “create your own path” in Malay, houses both locally and globally sourced works of furniture, accessories, bedding and art.  The collection really spans the globe!

La Mamounia InlayView in gallery

Moroccan lanterns highlight the amazing pearl inlay of the cabinets and mirrors.  These would be the outstanding highlight of any decor.

Upholstered Wing BedView in gallery

I was quite taken with this blue bedroom ensemble that features a leather upholstered Wing bed. The juxtaposition of ethnic textiles and accessories like the Moroccan embroidered footstool in a range of complementary blues that aren’t too “matchy-matchy” are really great.

Antique rug chairView in gallery

These chairs upholstered in kilim-style rugs with leather armrests would look great in either a modern space or paired with traditional furnishings.

Innovative Chaos Hanging LightingView in gallery

Just one example of some of the innovative art in the store is this hanging piece titled “Chaos” by Ran Adler. It’s made from wood curls that are collected from basket weavers’ cast-offs and hand strung into art pieces. Such a conversation starter!

Internum

Internum is another shop where you could easily spend hours perusing the beautiful contemporary and modern furniture and accessories.  The chic showroom is packed with settings of sleek and classic modern silhouettes as well as on-trend items.

Internum Dining Setting Marble TopView in gallery

A clean and classic marble dining table and chairs are paired with unusual side pieces, like the neon-lit hutch and modern, yet slightly retro, set of pendant lights.

Internum Giant LampView in gallery

Wait, what? That looks like a lamp we usually see on a desk. This giant version is a whimsical addition to the casual living room grouping.  Also loving that fringed rug.

Lazy susan sideboardView in gallery

This sideboard with curved ends is striking at first glance, but then I looked a little closer…it has a lazy susan in each end. The added piece makes it easy access the items you decide to store inside.

Giorgetti Move Rocking ArmchairView in gallery

This unusual chair is the Move rocker by Giorgetti.  A far cry from the traditional rocking chair, this would be perfect just about anywhere — your living room or a even in modern nursery.

Cool phrase tablesView in gallery

These awesome tables combine an old world feel with a modern twist thanks to the industrial base.

4141 Design

4141 Design is a single building in the Design District with 20,000 square feet of displays from design brands. It brings together nearly a dozen brands, including Maxalto, Arclinea, Moroso, Flos and Zanota to name a few.

Lema Edel BedView in gallery

Lema’s Edel bed is stylish yet warm, thanks to the beautiful fabric upholstery. It’s another good example of a modern piece that would fit with any decor style.

Maxalto Lucrezia bedView in gallery

Maxalto’s Lucrezia bed is a real stunner, particularly with the medallion designs in the leather headboard. The floating platform is very on-trend and the whole ensemble is enhanced with the square bedside lamps.

Maxalto Storage UnitView in gallery

Like many of the design showrooms I visited, Maxalto offers impeccable custom closet organization. This lighted closet includes leather loop pulls and beautiful divided drawers.

Moroso grouping furnitureView in gallery

This grouping by Moroso is casual yet stylish, thanks to the two different shaped coffee tables and the remarkable leather chair with a floral printed back. The layered rugs in complementary colors are a wonderful backdrop for the furniture.

Moroso Outdoor FurnitureView in gallery

Definitely not your run-of-the-mill patio furniture! These awesome colorful chairs are comfortable and fascinating. The Tim-Burtonish armchair looks almost like a comical throne and the hanging chair makes you want to curl up and spend the afternoon reading.

Vitra modern artView in gallery

Modern wall hangings like these are the perfect accent to Vitra’s console and chair with ottoman. The showroom includes a variety of arresting designs.

Vitra DiningView in gallery

We love the look of this sleek glass table with two metal base pieces.  The apple green chairs are a great accent to the grayish glass that would fit in any home.

Vitra DisplayView in gallery

The Vitra display window is so playful with the molded chair and array of colorful clocks.

Flos Lighting OptionsView in gallery

Flos lighting designs are definitely modern. We love how this selection of sconces is displayed in the showroom, as a wall of exciting options.

Oggeti

Located in the 4141 building, but an independent design showroom, Oggeti has a selection of furnishings, accessories and art that are to die for, including some by Vito Selma, a Filipino designer we featured from ICFF earlier this year.

Curly lucite chandelier from OggetiView in gallery

This lucite chandelier is both art and lighting.  The bulbs from above illuminate the sculpture, creating an exciting atmosphere.

Miami Lucite tablesView in gallery

Lucite was a popular material for accessories and accents like these nesting console tables. Perfect for a living room, entryway or bedroom, the colors speak for themselves.

Niba Home

An eclectic collection of one-of-a-kind pieces and special collections, Niba Home is a treasure trove of unique furnishings and accessories that the owner sources locally and internationally.

Niba Home Gemstone chandelierView in gallery

I’m a sucker for mirrored accents, so I was immediately drawn to this round table, glitzy to its very feet. The gemstone chandelier is a perfect companion and the combo left me speechless.

Niba Home Italian Brass chairsView in gallery

These Italian brass chairs are simple but have noteworthy features: the shaped top, elegant tapered legs and large stud accents on the deep teal upholstered backs.

Draped leathersetteeView in gallery

This classic white corner sofa is perfectly parked with the zebra rug, but what really attracts attention is the draped footstool. Stunning!

Luminaire Lab

This long-standing company has a beautiful showroom in the Design District. Luminaire Lab calls itself  more than a furniture showroom — “an interactive design research center, a playground for the soul, an esplanade for discovery.” I did indeed discover some great pieces in this lab.

Arbel Glass lights from Luminaire LabView in gallery

These glass pendant lights by designer and sculptor Omer Arbel are like beautiful floating glass clouds, a bit reminiscent of jellyfish.

Common BenchView in gallery

The Common bench is put together in a seating collection around an occasional table.  The grouping evokes visions of an elegant cocktail party happening in your living room!

Extrasoft Sofa LissoniView in gallery

A very comfy looking piece, the Extrasoft Sofa by Piero Lissoni is a hot seller at Luminiare. The sections can be combine in any formation.

Poltrona Frau Group

Poltrona Frau is an Italian company that has made its name in the leather industry and the showroom has plenty of leather.  Together with the Cassina, Capellini and Alias brands, the space is shock full of exciting designs.

Leather kitchenView in gallery

The showroom also represents Tonelli kitchens, which are modern designs with remarkable features. For instance, this kitchen features a refrigerator with doors covered in leather.  It is actually leather that is powered, mixed with a resin and them stamped with the grain.  This produces a finish with a genuine leather feel that  is still water resistance and easy to clean.  Incredibly beautiful.

Meret Oppenheim Traccia TableView in gallery

Elegant yet whimsical, this occasional table with bird footprints is by Meret Oppenheim Traccia. So fun.

Cassina Dining settingView in gallery

The rich wood of this Cassina dining table set is highlighted by the geometrically patterned rug and mod, orange-lined lighting fixtures.

Embryo chairView in gallery

This mod set includes the famous Embryo chair by Marc Newson. We love the rug that looks like it includes fragments of a traditional oriental carpet in an ocean of blue.

Franco albini veliero bookcaseView in gallery

More than just shelving, this bookcase  by Franco Albini Veliero is one of Cassina’s reissues of designs by the 20th-century Italian architect.

Chester One SofaView in gallery

The Chester One sofa is a Poltrona Frau classic. When you look closely at the hand-crafted workmanship of the sofa, you can see why it’s a popular piece.

So many design opportunities, so little time! If you’re into design and beautiful things, make sure you allow enough time to explore this fantastic section of Miami.