FROM LEFT: With OD nightlife contributor Dirk DeSouza at the SOBEWFF VIP Chefs Afterparty at The James Royal Palm; at the Cultural Collection event at The James Royal Palm hotel with OD contributing writer Jordan Melnick and Assistant Editor Omar Sommereyns

As a kid, I was drawn to what I now know is modern architecture. Though my world was filled with peewee football ambitions and bottle rocket wars, for unknown reasons I also thought low-slung glassy houses were really cool. At some point, I got a look at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and I was astounded—it was so unlike the nouveau colonials and split-levels of my home suburbia. It was grounded and open and hung out over a waterfall, and I had no idea something like it could even be done.

What I felt at age 10 was the mysterious power of the visual—what a line can connote. If a mere picture is worth a thousand words, the impact of good art and design is certainly worth more. We live surrounded by design, drive down the highway in it, smile at the clever shape of a Philippe Starck bottle opener or the playful frivolity of the Fontainebleau’s “Swiss cheese” facade. And hopefully we grow from art, shaken from our inertia, if it’s up to snuff and we’re paying attention.

The visual seems almost a form of magic at times, and our April issue celebrates that. In honor of the magazine’s 20th anniversary, we take a look at Miami’s most influential aesthetes over the past 20 years in “Visual Players.” We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. Some had the prescience to establish art collections here in the Wild West of the 1990s, while others will be guiding our city’s art credibility deep into the 21st century, as Miami will surely merge two hemispheres—a confluence where folks from different lands show one another what is possible.

When I drive through Miami now, I smile thinking of some kid staring out the window of a car and being wowed by not only the kinetic stance of a Porsche but the New World Symphony’s Wallcast and Dr. Seuss-like trees, or the wall-less horizontal lines of the 1111 Lincoln Road building guiding his eyes straight off the parking floor to the horizon. As architect Juan Carlos Fernandez put it, “Bad design is smoke, while good design is a mirror.” Miami’s looking pretty good right now.


BILL KEARNEY

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARISA MATLUCK (DESOUZA); EDUARDO FORD (MELNICK)

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