By: Kara Franker
The Artsy Side of the Miami Design District
Known as a hub for high-end shopping, the Design District is a neighborhood brimming with creativity and impressive architecture. In the 1990s, developer Craig Robbins began transforming the neighborhood into the cultural, must-visit haven that it is today. In addition to its high end designer boutiques and top chef restaurants, the Design District also has plenty of unique art galleries, installations, wall murals and more. Here are just a few of the ways you can get a taste of the art and culture in this trendy neighborhood.
The most popular of the area’s installations is Buckminster Fuller’s “Fly’s Eye Dome,” a 24-foot Monohex geodesic dome. Originally designed in 1977, it was reconstructed with modern, state-of-the-art materials in 2011 and now sits in the center of Palm Court, shading the entrance to its parking garage.
Famed architect, Zaha Hadid, created “Elastika,” a site-specific installation in the historic 1921 Moore building. Replicating a tension between the four-story building’s layered mezzanines, this installation looks like an exploding ball suspended in midair.
Tucked in between the Design District’s luxury boutiques, there are various art installations by some of the world’s most creative minds. Konstantin Grcic, a German designer, created Netscape: a 24-seat “net” of swings hanging from a modular six-point, star-shaped frame, all made out of steel, fiberglass and polypropylene.
Walk through the neighborhoods low- and high-rise buildings, and it’s hard to miss the vibrant murals plastered on their walls. One mural, “Vortex,” resembles a slow spiral that figuratively “draws a curious viewer in.” Created by Michael Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgianna Stout, it is appropriately painted on the outside of a collaborative studio of designers and creative minds who spend most of their time doing critical thinking and research.
John Baldessari painted two murals – Fun (Part 1) and Fun (Part 2) – both of which depict people during their pursuit of leisure. Part 1 is a painting of individuals playing games around a swimming pool, while Part 2 shows a smiling woman trying to balance on a beach ball. Both pictures are a throwback to a simpler time, likely in Miami; noticeable by its sunny scenes, one-piece bathing suits, fixed hairstyles and the fact that they are both painted entirely in black and white.
The Design District has a range of art galleries worth visiting. Led by French gallerist Bernard Markowicz, who made a name for himself at New York’s Opera Gallery, Markowicz Fine Art is home to eye-catching street art, digital art, lithography, traditional painting and more by countless artists; including, but not limited to: Francis Bacon, Mr., Connie McSilver, Alex Katz and Boudro.
Another gallery, Oliver Sanchez’s Swampspace, offers both a place for art exhibitions and local artist studios, showcasing everything from the student work at New World School of the Arts and Design Architecture Senior High (DASH), to major Miami artists, like Bhakti Baxter and Daniel Arsham. As an alternative gallery, Swampspace is recognized by the Knight Foundation for its ongoing contributions to the art world.
Home of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz’s private collection, the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space features contemporary art and supports artists in residency programs.
What started out as a seedling non-profit art project by three Miami friends and artists, Locust Projects has developed into a nationally recognized space for contemporary visual artists.
Taking place on the fourth Wednesday of every month, YogArt invites locals to enjoy a night of outdoor yoga in one of Miami’s most glamorous areas: the Design District’s Palm Court. Co-presented by Chȃteau d’Esclans and The Sacred Space Miami, and led by South Florida’s best yogis, this nighttime “Namaste” runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and includes live music, healthy snacks and drinks. Tickets are $35 per session, with proceeds benefitting Design & Architecture Senior High School (DASH).
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