(click on any image to enlarge)
The morning before we had lunch and explored the walls in Wynwood, we started off with a stroll through Miami's Design District. This area is still under construction as more and more high-end stores move in, but the current layout still has enough architectural features and funky art installations to pique a photographer's interest.
We started off by parking in one of the many lots hidden under I-195 so that we could catch a glimpse of some of the large-scale murals to be found in the area. While the murals here lack the amazingly creative and diverse nature of those a few blocks south in Wynwood, the deliberate nod that they give to the District's neighbor is appreciated.
After parking next to Vortex, we made our way to the main attraction of the area, Palm Court. This outdoor mall of sorts hails visitors with Dior and Louis Vuitton stores on the corners flanking the N.E 39th Street entrance, but once inside, this two-level area is an homage to accessories as it hosts the majority of the watch stores in the Design District. My interests were with the art installations over the swiss timepieces, but you can easily go for either.
The first thing you see upon entering the main plaza is the striking Fly's Eye Dome originally design by Buckminster Fuller in 1965. This 24-foot structure, a variation on a geodesic dome, is actually the enclosure over the subterranean entrance to the adjoining parking garage, so you can go inside for a pretty unique view of the sky!
After admiring the world through Fuller's eye, take a step into the amazing glass façade of the southern part of the plaza designed by Suo Fujimoto. The perfect symmetry and simplicity of the glass panels give every shadow a mesmerizing pattern.
Walking around the first level of the Palm Court complex is definitely a stroll through some of the more luxurious things life can offer, but ascending to the second level offers a fun respite in the form of Netscape by Konstantin Grcic. This serene set of swings feels a bit out of place in an area that seems to take itself a little too seriously, but the chance to relax for minute was wonderful.
Apparently swinging takes a lot out of you, because after our lounging we all agreed that we needed a snack! We found a little cafe called Mercato for a quick bite that was conveniently next door to the Design Within Reach store. I've seen their ads in Architectural Digest for years and wanted to see a showroom in person, so this was perfect. Or awful, depending on your view. After seeing the Eames chair in person I have decided that I need one... even if it takes me until I'm 75...
I sadly couldn't take anything home from the DWR store that day, but my spirits were lifted when we were walking by the Moore Building and saw that some nice person had left the door open. I think the space was being set up for a new exhibition slated to open the following week, so we were able to pop in for a few seconds to see the architectural work Elastika by Zaha Hadid. Seeing something so organic that should be oddly out of place somehow bridge the various levels in this space was a great reminder that not all architecture needs a function (other than to make you think or feel).
Once back outside we had some time to explore a few more side streets before making our way down to Wynwood for an early afternoon lunch. One of the most striking side streets of the area is between N.E 39th & 40th Streets, and it is home to my last two shots for the day.
First up is Hermès with its striking side courtyard. This was a shot that I was extremely happy to have my rented Tamron 10-24mm lens with me to really catch the effect of those almost prison-like bars.
Last but not least, the Fendi store. This gem has some of the most vibrant paint I've ever seen on a building, and I love it. You can't really make much bolder of a statement!
Thank you for coming on an adventure with me around Miami's Design District, I hope you enjoyed the variety of architecture to be found in this area and that you'll be inspired to go out and find a few gems in your own town or city.
Date & Locations: Thursday, 18 Feb 2016 - Miami Design District (N.E. 38th - 41st Streets, between N. Miami Ave and N.E 4th Ct)
Photos taken with: Nikon D5300, Nikon 18-140mm f3.5-5.6 DX Lens & Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-5.6 Lens (Rented from BorrowLenses.com)
Photo credits: Myself