Miami's Design District Has The Best Of Everything
Through a meticulous curation process, Miami’s Design District has become a vibrant hub of luxury, combining retail, art, architecture and fine dining
Call it a show house. Call it design-a-palooza. Call it by its proper name: CasaCor Miami. Founded in Brazil, the annual fair, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, attracts 500,000 people to events in six Latin American countries. This, however, is the first CasaCor in the United States, starting December 1 and running for 18 days. The event comprises 20 decorated rooms in three penthouses on the 43rd floor of Rise, a condo tower in Brickell City Centre. Miami was the “incontestable location” for the first iteration in the States, says the show’s CEO, Lucio Grimaldi. The 22 participating designers and architects have practices from Brazil and Peru to Italy. Here, CL looks at three set to make a splash at the design fair.
The breakout star of the show, architect Suchi Reddy was born in Chennai, India, a city on the Bay of Bengal previously known as Madras. She left India at 18, and today lives in a 375-square-foot former dentist’s office in Greenwich Village that seems barely large enough to contain her cascading hair. She designed her home as a cabinet of wonders, with a dining table that disappears into the ceiling. Her business, Reddymade Architecture and Design, is headquartered in the Village, as well, although recent commissions have taken her team to Beverly Hills, where they are working on a home for actor Will Arnett, and Miami Beach, where they designed a nearly all-white residence on a private island. Closer to home, she has done a project for the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, as well as an office floor in Lever House.
Reddy started her career at Arquitectonica in Miami, the firm that designed the Rise tower that is home to CasaCor. She has one of the fair’s most prestigious assignments: to reimagine a living room that flows into a dining room with an open kitchen and balcony. “I’m going with black and gold,” Reddy says. “We want to bring a little glam into it.” The space presents “a lot of straight lines, oriented toward the view,” a seductive vista showcasing twinkling office buildings, hotels and Biscayne Bay. “So we’re going with sensuous curves and lines. I’m always finding the right solution for a problem. And no two problems are the same.” Bosch appliances come standard in the penthouses, but Reddy will no doubt change the lighting. She has a few favorite fixtures, including the conceptual ExoFly chandelier. Maybe no two problems are the same, but solutions can be.
Guilherme Torres and Enrico Beer Boimond
Just off Reddy’s black and gold living room is a master bedroom and bath designed by Studio Guilherme Torres, a veteran of CasaCor. With offices in São Paulo, the firm is known for its linear, often cantilevered houses, clean lines and abhorrence of clutter. Stepping into the bedroom might be a trip into Geometry World: “I want to make a space that is a borderline between art and decor,” says Boimond, whom Torres refers to as one of his enfants terribles. (Boimond, who is 25, was born in Rome, studied at Oxford and lived in Chicago. He began winning prizes while he was still a student. Enfant, indeed.)
Through its cooperative Nos company, Studio Guilherme Torres promotes its own furniture, including a huge cube bed and a coffee table influenced by the recent revival of the Memphis movement. With windows on two sides, the bedroom presents a challenge to control the light, but Boimond says Studio Torres will “create a new atmosphere” there.
In Nassau, the Bahamian capital, Fernando Wong is transforming The Retreat, a 40-year-old botanical garden, into an international tourist destination. “Nature is very effective,” he says. Wong grew up in Panama of Chinese grandparents. After studying architecture and interior design there, he moved to Miami in 2001 and began working as a gardener. In addition to hands-on labor, he did sketches for landscape designers. Soon he had a thriving business in Palm Beach, Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design, as well as in Miami and the Hamptons. Besides his work for private clients, he recently took on the Richard Meier-designed Four Seasons hotel at The Surf Club, just north of Miami Beach, which he turned into a lush tropical estate. Among myriad other details, his team prepared a 70-foot Florida Ficus aurea tree, then cut it into five pieces, hauled it to the site and reassembled it, providing it with its own irrigation system.
For CasaCor Miami, Wong was struck by the location. “The balcony faces west, and it’s going to totally change how people see Miami. It’s more of an L.A. feel.” The view is of a broad plain, as if looking at the flats of L.A. from Mulholland Drive. And the building tapers at the top, so three sides of the space are sheltered. Wong plans to surround a sculpture by Oriano Galloni with lots of seating and plenty of trees with soft foliage “to make the space feel lush and urban.” Just do not expect a 70-foot-tall ficus tree. The service elevator can’t handle it.