November 8th, 2010
The Miami Herald
Getting to know the Miami Design District
by Christina Veiga
The 18-square-block Miami Design District is known as a place to shop for high-end furnishings and design-conscious products, whether they're toys or eyeglasses. Here's a sample of what you'll find.
Tomas Maier: This store has a little bit of everything.
Art and photography books are on sale in the back. The main showroom offers everyday women's wear, as well as such accessories as wallets, belts and jewelry. The front of the store features such home goods as fragrant incense. And upstairs, a gallery features a rotating display of artists' works.
The place has an industrial feel, with concrete floors and metal handrails. But classic jazz and funky indie music -- also on sale -- make it welcoming.
170 NE 40th St., 305-576-8383; www.tomasmaier.com . Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
I on the District: This optical and sunglasses store promises funky frames to finish your look.
``It's like frames to see, as well as to been seen,'' said owner Irina Chovkovy. It's a statement. They see it on your face.''
The store also sells purses and other accessories in a boutique in the back. Organic kids' clothes are also a big draw, Chovkovy said.
The store carries restored vintage glasses, in addition to high-end brands such as Dita and Chrome Hearts.
120 NE 40th St., 305-573-9400; www.ionthedistrict.com . Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday.
Y-3 STORE MIAMI: For those who want to get fit in style, Y-3 offers designer athletic wear by Japanese designer Wohji Yamamoto.
The line offers bright orange and purple shoes -- some made out of the same material as scuba diving gear. Workout clothes feature rich fabrics such as lambskin.
And upstairs, last season's collection is on sale for 50 percent off.
150 NE 40th St., 305-573-1603; Y-3store.adidas.com . Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Marni: Stainless steel floating racks dip and curve around this brightly lit space. Mannequin busts hang from single metal cables, featuring delicate patterned tops and classic, solid-print dresses.
Known for their shoes, Marni's high-heeled works of art are displayed throughout the store on shiny, round platforms.
Store manager Jorge Salazar describes the line as ``special collector's pieces that transcend any time.''
3930 N.E. 2nd Ave., 305-764-3357; www.marni.com . Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday .
JBL International Antiques: A sign outside the door of this antique shop claims, ``Style is not an expression of wealth, but an expression of imagination.''
Inside, though, ornate furniture from throughout the centuries bear hefty price tags. There are plush rugs on the floor and classical music playing. Shiny chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The 5,500-square-foot showroom is crammed with artifacts from the middle 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
Owner Burt Lange, who has run JBL for 15 years, said you have to be willing to pay the price for quality home furnishings.
100 NE 40th St., 305-576-1500. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Fendi Casa: The smell of leather throughout Fendi Casa's showroom is a testament to the luxurious materials -- fox, mink, sheep skin and zibeline -- used for the Italian brand name's line of home furnishings.
The signature double ``F'' can be found on the corners of plush rugs or written in crystal on fluffy pillows. Most of the line features the classic combination of black and white, with a few pieces offering a splash of red, purple or pink.
90 NE 39th St., 305-438-1660; www.fendicasa.it. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
PLUMBING & TILE
Decorator's Plumbing: This family-run business has been selling high-end bath and kitchen accessories since the 1980s.
Commodes line the walkways and sink basins hang at an angle from the walls. The space is packed with door handles, sink faucets and shower heads from brands such as Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio and Zah Hadid.
The selection of decorator plumbing supplies lures in overseas buyers and local mansion owners from Miami Beach.
109 NE 39th St., 305-576-0022; www.decoratorsplumbing.com . Open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Bisazza: Bisazza features bright glass mosaic pieces and furniture from Italy.
The company has been in the United States for 15 years, with stores in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The Miami location is the newest.
``It's great to be in the Design District,'' said Lucia Schito, who has been with the company almost from the beginning. ``The traffic isn't constant, but the people here know what they're looking for.''
The showroom features 3,500 square feet with an ``inviting'' but ``fancy'' feel, Schito said. Most clients are architects and designers because many of the products aren't finished and require installation, she said.
3740 NE 2nd Ave., 305-438-4388; www.bisazzausa.com . Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturday by appointment only.
Genius Jones: This independent toy store started on Miami Beach with the idea that new parents shouldn't have to give up their love for design.
The Design District incarnation features an L-shape store, with organic crayons and Grateful Dead onesies out front, and a long hallway with furniture, highchairs and cribs. Owners promise the funky, futuristic pieces offer fashion and function.
49 N.E. 39th St., 305-571-2000; www.geniusjones.com . Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-6 p.m. Saturday.
Emilio Robba, Inc. : Emilio Robba's striking bouquets have earned him the title ``sculptor of flowers.''
His beautiful bouquets feature both cut and synthetic flowers that look so real the line is called ``illusion.'' The French artist also sells sculptures and vases, as well as photography of nature scenes.
4242 NE 2nd Ave., 305-572-1261; www.emiliorobba.com.