Luminaire Spreads the Light
With a new interactive lab expansion, Miami's Luminaire glows even brighter.
October 17, 2011
|Fortuny lamp by Mariano Fortuny for Pallucco|
With the addition of a second floor to its Design District space, Miami’s original design mecca, Luminaire, further cements its status as a leading force in relevant contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories design, and now, education. The company was founded in 1974 by husband-and-wife duo Nasir and Nargis Kassamali, whose small original space in North Miami Beach demonstrated the pair’s knack for discovering the newest and most innovative European talents. In the ensuing years, that tiny kiosk grew to 4,500 square feet of showroom space, followed by a flagship Coral Gables location in 1984. A Chicago branch followed five years later, and more recently, two more Coral Gables outposts.
Early this November, the Kassamalis will take over the second floor of the Design District’s Newton building (3901 NE Second Ave.), where the firstfloor Luminaire Lab already sits—a 15,000-square-foot expansion. A complete overhaul will create an expansive lab setting featuring exhibitions and designer talks. “The Lab is an interactive playground used to house the most innovative of contemporary design,” says Nasir Kassamali. “Opening the second level is a catalyst to communicate our philosophy for curated exhibitions, lectures and design education.” The new space will carry sought-after lines from the likes of Alternative, Nahoor and Piure, and will house enduring design classics, such as the Monte Carlo sofa by Eileen Gray for ClassiCon and the Fortuny lamp by Mariano Fortuny for Pallucco.
From its inception 37 years ago, Luminaire has gone against the grain of American contemporary design to bring the European aesthetic to a South Florida audience; its overarching mission has always been to promote classic, timeless design. With powerhouses such as B&B Italia, Paola Lenti and Porro, the new showroom represents some of the most acclaimed designs on the market today. The Kassamalis’ goal was to bring design awareness to the masses by demonstrating to consumers the importance of space and the effect it has on our everyday lives. Luminaire is, bar none, the first-stop shop in town for any budding design enthusiast or seasoned designer—a virtual design paradise, where artistry, education and awareness are equally meaningful and significant priorities.
Blocks to Watch
The Collins Park district might be Miami Beach’s most desirable new neighborhood.
October 04, 2011
Walk north of 20th Street on South Beach’s Collins Avenue and the sidewalks seem to widen, the crowds thin, and a newly redone, leafy stretch of land beckons: Collins Park is a calm, ordered contrast to the often-chaotic street scene to the south. As the next 12 months bring more housing on-stream, this particular neighborhood is due to become the next hot place to live and play on the Beach. House-hunters have taken note, quickly snatching up 80 properties in the neighborhood through mid-August of this year, compared to just 79 during all of 2010.
A host of starchitect buildings already surrounds Collins Park itself. A Robert A.M. Stern-designed Miami-Dade Public Library and Arquitectonica’s Miami City Ballet studios sit across from the elegant 1930 Russell Pancoast-designed structure now housing the Bass Museum of Art, which received a new wing by Arata Isozaki in 2001.
The area’s renaissance began in 2005, when the 40-story Setai debuted a block north of the Shore Club and Mynt Lounge. The stunning condo-hotel sold seven of its mostly million-dollar-plus apartments in the first half of this year, ranging from $980,000 to $4.6 million. And one-bedroom units here rent at prices starting at $6,000 per month.
“The Setai was so isolated. Now there’s a community there,” observes star broker-associate Jill Hertzberg of Coldwell Banker. First in was 2009’s Yabu Pushelberg-designed W South Beach, featuring a Bliss Spa, Mr Chow restaurant and the developer Aby Rosen’s own Damien Hirsts, Warhols and Basquiats adorning the lobby. In the first half of 2011, six apartments sold in the building, spanning $688,000 to $3.3 million. Hinting at the role Brazilian buyers are playing both in Miami’s real estate renaissance in general and specifically at The Residences at W South photographs by greg clark (gansevoort); Jesse D avid Harris (w south beach) Coldwell Banker Beach, its website offers Portuguese as one of its language options.
Across Collins Avenue, the 52-apartment Boulan South Beach (“where scene meets sanctuary,” complete with meditation garden and spa-style baths) opened this year, and is already 20 percent sold at prices ranging from $400,000 to $1 million. No word yet on the $4.2 million penthouse, but hopes are high. The “game-changer” in the neighborhood, however, according to Coldwell Banker Realtor (and Jill’s son) Danny Hertzberg, lies in two additional properties. New ownership at the Gansevoort Miami Beach has resulted in complete renovation of its 259 condos, with the goal of attracting hundreds of moneyed young buyers. And behind the Bass Museum of Art, Artécity offers 202 apartments and townhouses about three blocks from the redhot Mokaï nightclub. Hertzberg predicts a surge of retail and dining on the stretch of 23rd Street connecting the two properties. From where we sit, it’ll be fun to watch.
Pan Am Glam
The airline endures with a Miami exhibition and promising new prime-time soap.
September 26, 2011
Of all the Miami myths, perhaps none is more alluring than Pan American World Airways, a symbol of all- American power, vision and sheer romance that maintained an important Miami hub throughout its history. Celebrated on ABC this fall with Pan Am, its very own show starring Christina Ricci, the airline embodies a peculiar kind of American immortality, all up-tempo Frank Sinatra songs and ever-personable stewardesses. In this 1946 photo, two flight attendants in training are taking in a map that charts Pan Am’s conquest of South America. On a local level, Pan Am is part of HistoryMiami’s “Aviation in Miami: The First 100 Years” exhibition (on view through July 22, 2012), featuring artifacts related to the likes of Amelia Earhart and the Miami-headquartered Eastern Airlines. The airline’s architectural legacy here took a turn for the worse in 1954, when the circa-1933 Pan American Seaplane Base and Terminal Building, situated on Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, became Miami City Hall. It’s sad to think of Miami politicians occupying a building where the chic would take clipper ships (essentially flying boats) down to Cuba for the weekend. But the building is still full of glam ghosts. Friezes depict stylized planes, Pan Am’s insignia and a rising sun; the original winged clock hangs above the commission dais. But unfortunately, the original 10-feet-in-diameter rotating globe from the lobby is now at the Miami Science Museum: The icon of Pan Am’s international ambitions might have raised the tone a bit at City Hall.
Designer Chat: Luis Pons
The architect and designer behind Luis Pons D-Lab dabbles in everything from technology and interiors to jewelry.
September 22, 2011
How have technological advancements affected the way you design?
LUIS PONS: Good design comes first, then I fi nd whatever technology is best. I base my designs on the strength of an idea—the consistency of the concept combined with the creativity to use limited resources. I call it “low-tech, high-end” design.
What brought you to Miami?
LP: The potential of being part of a young city with a rich cultural context that embraces the American and Latin American identities to which I feel attached.
What are you working on currently?
LP:The Hotel Guanahani & Spa in St. Barth’s, the Al Capone estate renovation on Palm Island in Miami Beach, a Caribbean-style furniture collection for Luis Pons D-Lab and a jewelry collection for MTV Tr3s and the Ashoka foundation.
Is there a process or technology now in the testing stages that you would love to use?
LP:Prefab housing tech that will meet hurricane codes. Also, affordable solar panel systems.
Interior Find: Roche Bobois Chair
Form and function find chic harmony in these futuristic chairs.
September 15, 2011
Ava chair in Graphite, Roche Bobois ($436). 450 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables; roche-bobois.com
A Tubular Lounge Chair
Sit back and relax on this beach lounger gone luxe.
September 08, 2011
Celebrate the great outdoors with the Biknit chaise lounge, created by Spanish superstar Patricia Urquiola for Moroso. Known for her cutting-edge design, Urquiola worked with Plastitex to create an exclusive tube-like knit made of PVC that’s similar to the yarn used on beach loungers. The result is an eyepopping piece with a woven-stitched seat and wooden frame, and the durability to last through years and years of Miami sun and heat. 4141 Design, 4141 NE Second Ave., Miami; 4141design.com
Lighting Find: Beehive Lamps
Sexy dimmed lighting with clean modern lines gives us something to buzz about.
September 02, 2011
Diffused lighting has never been more stylish. The Foscarini Beehive table lamp is designed to mimic its namesake, with the light encompassing circular rings made from ultralightweight, durable ABS polycarbonate. It also comes with a dimmer option, making it ideal for both intimate bedtime reading or illuminating a full-size living room. Abitare, 21 NE 39th St., Miami; abitareusa.com
The New Face of Morgans Hotel Group
Hospitality wunderkind Michael Gross takes the helm of Morgans Hotel Group.
September 02, 2011
Upon first impression, Michael Gross looks like he might be one of the young, upwardly mobile guests enjoying themselves in the lobby or lounge of a chic boutique hotel, a wellheeled yet hip young customer. But he’s actually the new CEO of Morgans Hotel Group, one of the most renowned and glamorous boutique hotel collections in the nation. At his new post, he oversees a hospitality empire based on uniqueness that includes groundbreaking properties in Miami (Delano, Mondrian, Shore Club), Los Angeles (Mondrian), Boston (Ames), New York (Mondrian Soho, Hudson, Royalton, Morgans), London (Sanderson, St. Martin’s Lane) and San Francisco (Clift).
From where Gross sits, he’s at the center of what he believes is Morgans’ core demographic. “I’m 36,” he says. “I know what [our guest is] expecting, though it’s less about age and more about a lifestyle. We attract a client who tends to be more experimental, less conformist. Our properties feel unique. I have tremendous respect for both Ian [Schrager] and André [Balazs],” he says with regard to the men who pioneered the boutique hotel concept in Miami and elsewhere. “But I want us to lead what happens next.”
Growing up as a customer of these properties (his parents, Nachum and Sandy Gross, have lived in South Beach for 16 years), Gross counts the Delano among his favorite places. “We watched this town evolve. The Delano is truly iconic and in many ways was one of the key catalysts for the creation of South Beach today.” And though he started out in finance, the business may just be in his blood. “My parents are entrepreneurs and have always done extensive traveling. In high school, our house was where my friends would hang out after basketball practice. I’ve always been someone who likes to host.”
Gross has barely moved into his new office, but change swiftly followed. There have been seismic shifts within the board of directors, as well as on the operations front. New York’s Morgans and Royalton hotels have been sold, as well as the Mondrian Los Angeles, though the company will stay on to manage the properties. “By selling our assets, we’ve repositioned the company and created an influx of capital, which we can now reinvest in the properties.”
A large part of Morgans’ reinvigoration process has entailed buying out its food and beverage partners, China Grill Management. “Now we have the ability to handpick the food, beverage and nightlife.” Case in point: Morgans has seen a great reaction to executive chef Sam Talbot’s Imperial No. Nine at Mondrian Soho. As for Miami, “We’re going to completely relaunch the food and nightlife experience of the Delano,” Gross says. At press time, the company remains tightlipped regarding the names it’s bringing in, but the rumors are exciting.
Needless to say, Gross—a devoted husband and father of twin girls, with another child on the way—is a busy man. But the new post brings him back to what he loves. “I have a dream job, which allows me to combine left brain and right brain,” he enthuses. “I’d love to leave a mark.”
The classic rocker gets a modern, eco-friendly upgrade.
August 23, 2011
One of the most talkedabout series of pieces at Salone were the Tip Ton chairs by Barber Osgerby for Vitra. Each is manufactured from a single mold of 100 percent recyclable polypropylene, which means it’s as lightweight as it is durable. The Tip Ton only tilts forward at a slight, nine-degree angle. The sitter’s spine is thus held in an ergonomically correct position, improving oxygen fl ow, which increases concentration and focus—all with a dash of colorful, minimalist flair. Luminaire Lab, 3901 NE Second Ave., Miami; luminaire.com
A Mother-Daughter Spa Haven
The Delano's agua spa will make you wish everyday were Mother's Day.
April 29, 2011
The agua terrace at the Delano
This Mother's Day, schedule some quality time with mom at the Delano’s award-winning agua spa. Mother-daughter duos will have their pick of three relaxing spa packages (valid through May 15) sure to encourage plenty of bonding and bliss. Moms-to-be can also get in on the pampering with the spa's special prenatal massage. Schedule an early appointment so as not to miss the Delano's splendid Mother's Day brunch.
Mom & Me Spa Breakfast Connection
Price: $387, 9 AM to 11:30 AM only
Treatment: Private, side-by-side 60-minute massage with aromatherapy
Bonus: An elegant post-treatment spa breakfast on the rooftop solarium
Mom & Me Spa Tea Time
Treatment: Choice of any two of the following 60-minute treatments: massage, spa pedicure, facial, milk and honey body treatment
Bonus: Sip herbal tea and nosh on spa cupcakes on the rooftop solarium
Mom & Mini Me Happy Feet
Treatment: Mother-daughter pedicure, available for children under 12
Bonus: Plenty of chocolate milk and spa cupcakes
Mom & Me Spa Tea Time
Treatment: 60-minute pre-natal massage performed by a certified therapist.