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Design District Miami

Art, Design, Architecture and Luxury Shopping...

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The Miami Design District

The Emerging Hub for Art, Design and... Luxury Shopping

Design District Miami

The Miami Design District, from its humble beginnings not long ago, has really come a long way. Still in the making, it keeps on defining and redefining itself.

No longer an area dedicated exclusively to furnishings and interior design, the District is attracting the world's top names in fashion, and art galleries and public art displays are flourishing.

Some of Miami's most popular locavore restaurants round up this very unique corner of the city which keeps evolving and bringing us new twists.

Once upon a time... this was a decaying area of town, a mish mash of old warehouses and storefronts, mostly furniture and interior design outfits, a rogue gallery or architectural firm here and there... for the most part, it wasn't in anyone's radar.

Then one day, a different kind of art and design creeps in the neighborhood, the kind with the iconic shiny red lacquer...

... Christian Louboutin sets up shop in the heart of the Design District and starts the slow trickle of ultra-luxury fashion houses... Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Hermès, Céline, Prada, Rolex... some even in temporary digs while their new flagship stores are being built.

Now that the floodgates have opened, many more high-octane fashion and jewelry brands are in the wings to launch in the very near future: Fendi, Valentino, Harry Winston, Givenchy, Giorgio Armani, Van Cleef & Arpels, Miu Miu...

Christian Louboutin Store Miami Design District

The Miami Design District, what it is and what it isn't, tips for visiting

The Design District is a neighborhood, not a shopping center, a very unique neighborhood.

Where else do you see a graffiti covered Louis Vuitton store?

Luis Vuitton Store at Miami Design District

The transformation of the store front was commissioned to RETNA, the renowned street art painter. You can see more of his work at the Wynwood Art District.

Likewise, art and sculptures, and works by acclaimed artists are everywhere throughout the Design District, at the galleries, the atriums, on the street...

Gallery and Street Art at Miami Design District

As the entire art scene in Miami evolves with new museum and exhibition venues as well as fresh thriving areas like the Wynwood Art District, galleries and artist studios at the Design District come and go, so what is true one month might not be there the next. The Ricart Gallery pictured above for example has relocated to Wynwood.

The number and variety of restaurants is also growing, very chic establishments offering locavore fare in a relaxed and laid-back ambiance in contrast to bustling South Beach.

Michaels Restaurant at Miami Design District

The atmosphere at the Design District as well is in constant flux. During the week it could be very quiet, almost deserted. You will probably wonder what the big fuss is about and "where the action is".

The action is of course for those who understand art and design and for those who, unlike the rest of us, did remember to bring their Black Amex cards and will be picking up a few fabulous baubles here and there.

So here are some tips for visiting the Design District:

  • Great times to visit are during the Gallery Art Walks which take place every second Saturday of the month. On this evening, many galleries host special events and there are refreshments and cocktails available.

  • By far, the best time of the year to visit is during Art Basel Week, the first week in December. The entire area comes to life with many exhibitions, gala events, parties... as the contemporary art world converges in Miami.

    Moore Building - Zaha Hadid

  • Try to catch an event at the Moore Building, a historic piece of architecture showcasing fantastic work by architect Zaha Hadid in the middle of its airy atrium, simply stunning.

  • Getting there: The Design District is a very compact area, roughly between 38th St and 42nd St and N. Miami Avenue and NE 2nd Avenue. CAUTION: Remember this area is still very much in transition, the surrounding area of the Design District is a doubtful neighborhood, please exercise caution specially at night. Click here for map and directions.

  • Parking: there is metered parking on the street (challenging) or try one of the many valet parking spots available throughout the District, normally near most restaurants and the luxury shops. They are marked with the gray V on this map. You can drop your car at one location and pick it up from another, so feel free to stroll.

  • For the latest roster of galleries and stores check the Miami Design District official website.

And for one of the easiest and most enriching ways to enjoy your visit to the district, consider having an expert curator guide you through.

The Miami Art Tour takes you around the thriving art districts of the Design District, Midtown and Wynwood. The guides are here on a daily basis and know the scene best, who is coming and going, which galleries are open to visitors, rotating exhibits, etc.

More info and booking: Miami Art Tour

It takes extraordinary vision to pull something like this off. Thanks to Craig Robbins, the heart and soul (and checkbook) behind the Miami Design District, which has it all in spades and who also has given us the world renowned South Beach Art Deco District. What will be next?

Here's Craig Robbins on the transformation of the city's derelict Design District into the thriving luxury shopping destination it is today:

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