Luminaire Spreads the Light

October 17, 2011 | by BY JOHN JOSEPH LIN | Pursuits

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.

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