In Depth: Miami's Brazilian Boom
By Arielle Castillo
|Marcus Panthera, founder, Mega Model Management|
But concierge-level service is typical for Brazilians doing business in Miami. Medeiros, Dunin, Faria and Leite all concur. “The Brazilian people are very optimistic and friendly,” adds Marcus Panthera, who brought his Mega Model Management agency to Miami from Brazil. “In my work I need to have a very busy social life, and I believe being Brazilian helps me a lot with this.”
Beyond the relationship-focused business acumen, something many in the current Brazilian wave seem to share is a unique sense of style. In fashion, that’s best represented by the Osklen boutique on Lincoln Road in South Beach, the Southeastern flagship store for the line by designer Oskar Metsavaht. The pieces there are luxurious in an understated way, with soft fabrics and smart tailoring coexisting with a breezy, beach-boho feel.
Similar sensibilities can be found in Ornare’s interior handiwork. “It’s contemporary and clean, but the use of the materials—the raw materials combined with a modern look—makes it very unique,” says Faria. “Organic is very characteristic of a Brazilian product.”
|Romero Britto, world-renowned artist|
On the other end of the spectrum, the particular Brazilian joie de vivre is apparent in the almost omnipresent marketing of the bold, bright neo-Cubist pop art of Romero Britto. His primarycolored, thickly outlined paintings, prints and sculptures decorate countless public spaces from the suburbs to South Beach. Britto’s success story, however, is not one of riches to further riches. For one thing, he hails from Recife—not moneyed São Paulo or Rio—and arrived on a whim after visiting a friend. “If you are a rich Brazilian moving to Miami, maybe you move to Fisher Island and you have friends quickly,” he says. “When I moved here, I did not have the success I have today. Today I know a lot of people, but when I just moved here, the most difficult thing was basically integration and friendship in the community.”
As Britto’s artistic star rose, though, so did his profile in the Brazilian community, both among expatriates in Miami and back at home. Now, in his homeland, his work is as hot a commodity as it is here, and he says he’s enjoying increasing numbers of Brazilian collectors buying in dollars. “I have Brazilians flying here just to see me,” he says.
As they and their peers continue these round-trips, Miami life is taking on a distinct new flavor. “I estimate that Brazilians will account for more than $1.5 billion in real estate sales in the next 36 months here in Miami,” says Medeiros. “I think if you look forward two to three years, we’re going to have a lot more Brazilian businesses, like restaurants. I have clients already researching the possibilities of opening branches of high-end hotels here. Generally, Miami is becoming cooler and hipper in the eyes of Brazilians.”
Photographs by Lyall Aston