Living / Insights

Watercolor Conversation

Kyle Trowbridge’s artwork, on view this month at the Dorsch Gallery, reveals a wounded heart with a wonderfully twisted sensibility.

March 12, 2012

Kyle Trowbridge’s Untitled (Il Duce), 2006; Untitled (Naïve Terrorism), 2006 (left)

Dark, dark, dark. Whatever his chosen medium, Miami artist Kyle Trowbridge employs a very black sense of comedy. Yet the laughs are never cheap, and although the self-described “social critic” injects a provocative subtext into his work, the takeaway is anything but dogmatic. There’s empathy beneath his anger—as seen in his all-too-rarely exhibited drawings, a series of which recently hung at the University of Miami’s Wynwood Project Space for that school’s art department faculty show. A masterful draftsman, Trowbridge depicts a young boy caught somewhere between the cheery security of childhood and the cruel realities of onsetting adolescence. With artfully dripped tea stains and watercolors adding to the dissipating dream state, Trowbridge’s stand-in hoists a paper airplane skyward and invokes the piece’s punch line: CRITICS DISMISS MY WORK AS NAÏVE TERRORISM. In another drawing from this set, an innocent smile beams out from beneath a paper admiral’s crown: IT WAS DURING RECESS ONE DAY THAT MY NICKNAME “IL DUCE” FIRST STUCK. Barbed self-portraits? Perhaps they’re simply reminders that even the most heinous crimes of the past century were enacted by men who—in their earliest days—once roamed playgrounds. As Trowbridge explained to the Cultist blog, “It’s easy to render something extreme or shocking, but the truly scary stuff occurs when I just set a suggestive stage obscured in humor and allow the viewers to fill in the blanks.”

The Politics of Time, featuring artwork by Kyle Trowbridge, is at the Dorsch Gallery through March 31, 151 NW 24th St., Miami, 305-576-1278.

By Brett Sokol


John Sanchez's Beautiful Artwork

John Sanchez channels the quiet power of Miami's urban landscape in Rooftop, on view at Wynwood's Dorsch Gallery.

February 06, 2012

Rooftop, John Sanchez, 2011

Beyond the postcard-friendly, pink-hued Deco buildings and sky-piercing condos of South Beach, there’s a visual palette to mainland Miami that’s full of gritty tropical beauty. Think rain-slicked highways, downtown traffic lights winking yellow as they sway in the wind, and warehouse districts full of all manner of strange possibilities. No one in South Florida paints this flamingo-free landscape better than John Sanchez, and the recent Rooftop is a gorgeous example of his atmospheric brushwork. If you’ve ever gazed at Edward Hopper’s classic Nighthawks and marveled at the hidden world lurking within its seemingly placid diner setting, expect the same invocations of mystery from Sanchez. Indeed, devotees of Wynwood’s Art Walks may recognize the puddle-strewn rooftop in question as belonging to the Dorsch Gallery (which reps Sanchez): The surrounding terrain may seem barren, but a hopeful spirit prevails—from the dynamic sky dreamily reflected in the roof’s pools of standing water, to the ad hoc spotlights jury-rigged with plywood beams and weighted buckets, attesting to culture amid the concrete. “We’re so used to seeing Wynwood from the ground up,” Sanchez explains. He was after a different perspective, one he marveled at after clambering up onto the gallery’s roof between passing cloudbursts. “There’s a feeling of awe I was going for,” he adds. “I wish I could do a painting you could actually walk into.” Dorsch Gallery, 151 NW 124th St., Miami, 305-576-1278

—brett sokol


Wellness Guide: Where to Detoxify and Decompress

The must-do detox treatments and cleansing therapies in Miami.

January 09, 2012

Agua Spa at the Mondrian South Beach

Agua Spa at the Mondrian South Beach
Seaweed Mask
The ocean is known for its healing properties, so it’s no surprise that seaweed helps detoxify. The Mondrian takes full advantage by combining seaweed and French green clay into a concoction that infuses the epidermis with amino acids, vitamin E, and green tea extract for luxuriously supple, smooth skin. $150 for 60 minutes; 1100 West Ave., Miami Beach, 305-514-1950

Dr. Etti
Juice Cleanse
Detox doc extraordinaire Dr. Etti offers a seven-day program cheekily called Sexi Juicing. Each group-guided juicecleansing program costs $625 and features organic juices, smoothies, and a final day of kosher meals and festivities including organic vegetarian plates and a closing breakfast ceremony at Dr. Etti’s home. For clients desiring more privacy, she offers one-on-one programs starting at $975. 5700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-861-9383

Elle Spa
Red Flower Detoxifying Hammam Ritual
Hit the women’s magazine’s first-ever spa for a six-step healing massage that uses aromatic mint tea, coffee, lemon, quince, orange, and tangerine essences, as well as cleanses, scrubs, soaks, and wraps that are meant to recharge and hydrate. $300 for 100 minutes; Eden Roc, 4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-531-0000

Lapis Spa at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Bleau Detox
Reverse your nocturnal overindulging with the Bleau Detox, a three-step treatment consisting of a hydrobath, red seaweed wrap, and energy-boosting drainage massage. The end result is so stabilizing and refreshing, you’ll be ready for round two in no time. $220 for 80 minutes; 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-4772;

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Detoxifying Program
We’ve got three words for you: almost four hours. The Mandarin’s Detoxifying Program uses all that time to rid the body of toxins with a trifecta of algae wrap, aromatherapy massage, and facial assessment that will leave you feeling Zen-sational. Starts at $525; 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami, 305-913-8383

The Sports Club/LA
Body Detoxification
The gym handles muscle fitness, but for something more holistic, try this treatment commencing with a foot rub that segues into a deep-cleansing, full-body exfoliation. Seaweed/algae are applied to remove all the toxins and boost energy. A forehead and scalp massage serves as the blissful finale. $269 for 110 minutes; The Four Seasons, 1441 Brickell Ave., Miami, 305-533-1199;

The Standard Spa, Miami Beach
Detox Cleanse
If you’re fatigued from a tough week or sore from a strenuous workout, this therapeutic massage is designed to increase circulation, expel toxins, restore balance, and reduce muscle aches and pains. The added bonus? Each rubdown is performed with aromatherapy oils, body brushing, and a belly massage, and the sisal body brush is yours for the taking. Starts at $145 for 60 minutes; 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-1717;

—maria tettamanti


Where to Shop Unique Gifts

For thoughtful, one-of-a-kind presents, these destinations deliver.

November 08, 2011

The Taschen boutique at 1111 Lincoln Road

This whimsical Italian design factory just opened a shop in the Design District. The merchandise aesthetic is clever and sleek, comprised of modern, minimalist lines and all things stainless steel—think cutlery, pots and pans, Michael Graves tea kettles, as well as a unique selection of bar and wine accessories. 4141 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-572-2900;

The hip guys in your life will dig Base’s on-trend, limited-edition kicks, curated artwork, and pop-of-color timepieces, plus an outstanding music selection (think artists you’re more likely to hear at an avant-garde warehouse party than on the radio, like Fujiya & Miyagi, Osunlade, and Electric Wire Hustle). Our favorite option might be the store’s version of “audio couture,” the Album Club, which makes monthly deliveries of said music to the recipient’s doorstep. 939 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-531-4982;

Country French
For that gift-from-another-land feel, look no further than this South Miami furniture accessories and furnishings destination. As the name suggests, the shop offers items ranging from handcrafted soaps and candles to table linens and antiques imported from the French countryside (and beyond). 7259 SW 57th Ave., South Miami, 305-661-0159

Design Box Home Boutiques & Interiors
Founded by Miami-based interior designer Herbie Parets, this full-service home design studio handpicks its finds from all over the globe. Look for artifacts such as old nautical compasses, rustic folk art statues, and textured antique glasses and jars. 3049 Fuller St., Coconut Grove, 305-644-9400;

This Lincoln Road home furnishings and accessories showroom retails everything from hand-blown glass vases to vintage mosaic coffee tables. You’ll also find a well-curated selection of top lines such as Missoni Home. An everchanging in-store photography exhibition (everything’s for sale) features prints previously seen in Vogue Italia and Vanity Fair. 1020 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-672-9611;

STND/OHWOW at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach
The aqua-hued Rafael de Cárdenas-designed hotel shop housed within The Standard Spa, Miami Beach is a great stop for the discerning art lover. You’ll find international magazines and art books, as well as accessories such as Hring wood carved rings, Baron Von Fancy bow ties, Chen Chen marble bracelets, and myriad handpicked items. 40 Island Ave., 305-704-3927;

Specializing in large—sometimes absolutely massive—limitededition hardcovers, the experts at Taschen can suggest how to expand any refined coffee-table book collection. Some of the rare finds include an autographed copy of Helmut Newton’s Sumo, which comes with a Philippe Starck table, and GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali, replete with a Jeff Koons sculpture and four photos signed by “The Greatest” himself. 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-538-6185;

W Hotels The Store
As tasteful as a shop-within-ahotel gets, The Store has a little bit of everything: Think Moyna beaded clutches, one-of-a-kind druzy agate and vermeil gold necklaces from local designer Cimber Designs, quirky Eugenia Kim hats, and plenty of cutesy tech gadgets such as Moshi Moshi Pop phones. W South Beach, 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-938- 3010;

—Christine Borges
photograph by robert figueroa


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.

—Marc Goodman


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.

By Tom Austin


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?
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;


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;


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