Overview: The Design District is Miami's Soho, where the hip go when they want something special for their homes, their closets or their palates... more »
The Design District is Miami's Soho, where the hip go when they want something special for their homes, their closets or their palates... more ». At last count, there were nearly 140 boutiques, showrooms, galleries and eateries, but blink and there's another one -- or an old one in a new place, not to mention an endless array of pop-up shops and galleries.
Big news of late is that super-luxury brands such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Christian Dior and DeBeers soon will be upping the fashion ante here. They're part of a four-year, $312-million project to create a high-end commercial neighborhood rivaling Bal Harbour Shops and Lincoln Road on Miami Beach.
This neighborhood had fallen into urban decline 20 years ago when Craig Robins, a Miami Beach-born developer, came to the rescue. It had been a vibrant center of design activity with one of the nation's first design centers opening here in 1962. Back then many doors were closed if you didn't come with your architect or interior designer. Not the case today. Drop in anywhere even if you're just looking. less «
Shops, showrooms and galleries are scattered over an 18-square-block area with much of the activity on NE 2nd Avenue and along NE 40th... more » Street. Most are open weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some don't open until 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Sundays many showrooms are closed or open by appointment only.
Things to bring: Stylish hat and sunglasses, any sunscreen.
What to wear: Miami casual, which means dress comfortably but don't come straight from the beach.
Getting there: Easy access from I-195, which connects Miami Beach to the airport and links to I-95. From Miami Beach, take the Biscayne Boulevard exit, cross Biscayne and the railroad tracks to NE 2nd Avenue. From the west, the Biscayne exit puts you on NE 36th Street. Cross Biscayne and move into the right-hand lane. Just past the railroad tracks, veer on a diagonal onto NE 2nd Avenue.
What to watch for while there: Pop-up art galleries, particularly at Art+Design events on the second Saturday evening each month.
Parking: Metered parking on the street, but the best deal is the $3 valet parking, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The easy-to-spot valets are near restaurants throughout the district. Drop off at one and have your car returned to you at another at no extra cost. less «
The Buick Building, built in 1926 at the southeast corner of NE 2nd Avenue and NE 39th Street, can be seen from I-195 and Biscayne Boulevard. Front and back of the former automobile agency are medallion murals inspired by Roman mythological figures added in 2000 by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt of R&R Studios. Those in the back may... More disappear with new construction.
Next door is the prize-winning showroom of Holly Hunt, the Chicago-based designer who pioneered in the Design District more than a decade ago. Her company designs and produces collections of furniture, lighting, textiles and leather.
Local interior designer Raul Carrasco set up shop in the Design District more than 15 years ago, the last 10 across from The Brick Building. Recently he added a Soho showroom for his plush, custom-made furniture collection.
Continue east on 39th Street to the Waterworks, which began as a plumbing supply company in Connecticut in 1925. The new showroom in Miami opened in 2010. Enter and you'll never be satisfied with your old bathroom again. Even the displays in the 3,700-sq.ft. (340-sq.m.) showroom look like art installations. Plus it opens at 9 a.m. if you want an early start.
The Buick Building
3841 NE 2nd Ave.
3833 NE 2nd Ave.
Tel: (305) 571-2012
180 NE 39th St.
Tel: (305) 573.7889
167 NE 39 St.
Tel: (305) 573-7593Less
You'll find a new cluster of high-end furniture showrooms at the western edge of the district on NE 39th Street at Miami Avenue -- three European and one "California Look."
10 NE 39th St.
Tel: (305) 573-4331
The new kid on the block with a 3,600-sq.ft. (340-sq.m.) showroom offering elegant furniture, tableware, bedding,... More fabrics and accessories. It's Armani's third store in the US after New York and Los Angeles
3925 N. Miami Ave.
Tel: (305) 575-2620.
The Marbella-based interior and furniture design company opened its US headquarters and first US showroom in 2009. Furniture is hand-built, contemporary interpretations of classic designs. Look for the impressive white block with the black awnings.
90 NE 39th St.
Tel: (305) 438-1660
Stop by here to see how the ultra-rich will be living in ultra-luxury on the upper reaches of Collins Avenue. Mansions At Acqualina, where apartments start at $5 million and go up to $50 million, offers Fendi Casa interiors down to the linens with double 'F' logo. This is the first US showroom and stateside headquarters for the luxury-brand design collection.
49 NE 39 St.
Tel: (305) 438-1555
This fourth-generation firm, based in San Diego, opened its showroom -- one of 15 in the US -- here in December 2011. Known for its "California look" of casual elegance. Kreiss clients have included Janet Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Usher.
Remember: showrooms generally are closed on Sundays.
Walk one block north on Miami Avenue and turn east at the Orange Café + Art, an art gallery-café where the locals go weekdays for an inexpensive breakfast or lunch or bubble tea pick-me-up. Sandwiches here have artsy names like Frida Khalo, Picasso and Leonardo.
Amble along shady NE 40th Street, lined on either side with... More storefront showrooms offering oriental and contemporary rugs, granite countertops, designer lighting, decorating accessories and furniture including sofa beds. You'll also find boutiques like Petite Chic Gifts, specializing in personalized and made-to-order gifts, and Anya Ponorovskaya, the fashion designer who has three Girlcat Boutiques in New York City.
Orange Café + Art
2 NE 40th St.
Tel: (305) 571-4070
Hours: 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Petite Chic Gifts
1 NE 40th St, Suite #100
Tel: (305) 753-5133
35 NE 40th St.
Tel: (305) 677-5008Less
Not counting the activities that spill over into the neighborhood during Art Basel/Miami Beach each December or the pop-up exhibits that can happen most any time, the Design District has more than a dozen galleries and exhibition spaces. Special art, music, shopping and dining events are staged at Art+Design night, the second Saturday each month ... Morefrom 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Check out these galleries all within a few steps of one another:
101/exhibit (modern masters and emerging artists)
101 NE 40th St.
Tel: (305) 573-6101.
Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Markowicz Fine Art (Pop Art, Mourlot prints, contemporary French artists)
114 NE 40th St.
Tel: (786) 362-5546
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Arevato Gallery (contemporary Latin American Art)
151 NE 40th St. -- 2nd floor
Tel: (305) 860-3311
Mon.-Sat, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
This pedestrian alley between 39th and 40th streets is named for Richard Plummer, interior decorator to the rich and famous of Miami back, well, when. He worked with Moore Furniture to make the Buena Vista neighborhood a home furnishings center.
The model for passages to come, it is a convenient short-cut to a variety of shops and the inviting... More courtyard of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink, Zagat listed and in the district since 2007.
Nearby shops to note:
I on the District
120 NE 40th St.
Tel: (305) 573-9400
You can't get much more upscale than ebony sunglasses trimmed in gold for $1895. You'll also find antique frames and the latest in designer eyewear. Don't miss the boutique in the back for accessories such as hats, handbags and wraps as well as children's clothes.
Scotch and Soda
130 NE 40th St.
Tel: (305) 573-1668
This outpost of Dutch couture popped up in the Design District just for Art Basel-Miami 2011 but stayed on by popular demand.
125 NE 40th St.
Tel: (305) 576-5500
Luxury linens for bedroom and bath, specializing in 100% Egyptian cotton milled in Europe. Shop is closed on Saturday morning and all day Sunday.
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
130 NE 40th St.
Tel: (305) 573-5550
Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner, Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight Friday and Sat., 10 p.m. Sun.)
Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.Less
Thanks to a pineapple grower, the Buena Vista neighborhood has been a home furnishings mecca almost from the start. T.V. Moore turned land developer at the start of the 1920s land boom, creating homes for snowbirds and a bustling business center to serve them.
His Moore Furniture Company, one of the first stores in the US selling only furniture,... More opened in 1921, designed around the village post office built the previous year at NE 40th Street and NE 2nd Avenue. The three-story building is now a popular event space.
The post office, masonry vernacular with neoclassical features and louvered windows, has been through many reincarnations. Celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein opened a tapas restaurant called Sra. Martinez (her maiden name) in 2008. Last year she added the Crumb on Parchment, hidden in an interior patio in the building across the street. It's easy to miss the cozy café, one of the few places for an early morning coffee. Look for a chalk board on the sidewalk on NE 2nd Avenue or cut through the new Ornare showroom and get some tips from Brazil on classy closet organization.
Many 1920s homes survive in the East Buena Vista Historic District between NE 2nd and Miami Avenues and NE 42nd to NE 48th Avenues. Drive through the neighborhood at the end of the walk to view Mediterranean Rival, Mission, Pueblo, Bungalow, Art Deco and masonry vernacular architecture.
Crumb on Parchment
3930 NE 2nd Ave,
Tel: (305) 572-9444
M-F, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
4000 NE 2nd Ave.
Tel: (305) 573-5474
M - W, noon - 11 p.m.
Th - Fri. noon - 12 a.m.
Sat. 6 p.m. - midnight
3930 NW 2nd Ave.
Tel: (305) 438.0260
Founded in 1990 when the Design District was only beginning to revive, DASH is ranked Florida's #1 high school and the nation's #2 magnet school by U.S. News & World Report. Among its graduates is the Columbian-born Esteban Cortázar, who was head designer at Emanuel Ungaro and now has his own brand.
Look at the nearly transparent wall ... Morein front of the school. Because this is the Design District, this just isn't any wall. It's an art installation.
Marc Newsom, the Australian talent who has designed everything from watches to limited edition furniture to jet interiors to signed sculpture, created the 300-foot-long (100 meters) after being chosen Designer of the Year by Miami Design in 2006. Looked at a certain way, it appears to ripple.
Check to see if any student shows are on view.
4001 NE 2nd St.
Tel: (305) 573-7135Less
Head north from 40th Street to explore bespoken suits and rugs, silk flowers that look more real than real and a Greek taverna recreated in a 1940s Miami cottage. On the west side of the street, you'll come to:
4040 NE 2nd Ave.
Tel: (305) 671-3820
Tues - Sat: 11am - 7pm
Sun, Mon: By Appointment
Namesake shop of the London barrister ... Moreturned tailor offers made-to-measure suits costing into the four figures and must-haves items like couturier motorcycle helmets and croquet shirts. It's Saville Row with an edge and an affection for rogue gentlemen like James Bond. Opened as a stylish pop-up at the 2009 Art Basel/Miami Beach, it stuck around to be voted best men's store in MIami in 2012 by Miami New Times.
The Rug Company
4040 NE 2nd Ave.
Tel: (305) 576-9868
Ready made or bespoken, the handmade rugs of this London-based firm combine contemporary design with traditional weaving and notting techniques. Fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, Diane von Furstenberg, Paul Smith and the late Alexander McQueen have created collections for the company, which also has a boutique line of tapestry cushions and needlepoint wall-hangings
4242 NE 2nd Ave.
Tel: (305) 572-0203
Through the window or even inside up close, this showroom looks like an exclusive florist shop where each bloom is perfection. The bloom is perfection, but it is because Robba has sculpted it from silk. You may have seen his work in elegant hotels, on luxury cruises or at Monet's Giverny in France. As if "permanent botanicals" weren't enough, he also amazes with his accent furniture, lighting, home fragrances, nature photography and limited edition of Daum crystal. Ring at the door to be let in.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
4312 NE 2nd Ave.
Tel: (305) 576-6066
M-Sat, noon to 11 p.m.
Sun, noon to 10 p.m
At the end of your shopping tour, kick back with a jug of white sangria, Turkish and Greek appetizers and specialities like grilled octopus and village pasta (noodles with ground beef and béchamel sauce). Except for the chilliest months (by Miami standards), sit in the romantic tented garden. Otherwise, find a table in the intimate dining room.
No need to walk back to your car if you've parked it elsewhere with a Design District valet. The valet at the bistro will fetch it for you at no extra cost.
When Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz's international contemporary art collection outgrew their bayfront home on Key Biscayne, the Cuban-born couple built a three-story, 30,000-sq.ft. (almost 3,000 sq.m.) space in the northwest corner of the Design District to make room for more. They launched the building, designed by John Marquette, just in time for ... MoreArt Basel Miami in 2009.
Project rooms rotate throughout the year and include space for local artists. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission is free. Metered parking is available on the street or you can drop your car across the street with the district's $3 valet parking.
While it is only a few blocks from the center of the Design District, we suggest arriving by car rather than by foot when days are hot.
23 NE 41 Street at North Miami Avenue
Tel: (305) 576-6112Less