September 25th, 2013
Women's Wear Daily
Sou Fujimoto Tapped for Miami Design District Facade
by Sharon Edelson
When the name of your project is the Miami Design District, it goes without saying that the architecture has to be impressive.
Sou Fujimoto impressive. Fujimoto, the rising star who was selected this year to design the Serpentine Gallery pavilion in London — considered one of the world's plum commissions — created a facade for a 15,200-square-foot mixed-use retail building in the Design District's Palm Court, which is set to bow in 2014. Meanwhile, the Design District revealed the next round of tenants to sign leases, a list of 22 upscale brands.
The development is owned by Miami Design District Associates, a partnership between Craig Robins' company Dacra, and L Real Estate, a global real estate development fund focused on luxury retail-driven mixed-use projects in which LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is a minority investor.
Luxury retailers view the district as an alternative to the Bal Harbour Shops, which has been enforcing a radius restriction clause that prohibits tenants from opening stores within 20 miles of the mall. Brands that opened stores in the Design District include Hermès, Agnona, Berluti, Cartier, Céline, Christian Louboutin, Dior Homme, Emilio Pucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Maison Martin Margiela and Marni.
The next phase of tenants will include Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Harry Winston, Hublot, IWC, Loewe, Longchamp, Marc Jacobs,Miu Miu, Panerai, Parmigiani, Piaget, Rick Owens, Rolex, Tag Heuer, Tiffany & Co., Tod's, Vacheron Constantin, Valentino and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Robins said 50 stores will open in fall 2014, with 60 bowing in 2015. "Sales have been very strong already, even though we don't have critical mass."
Fujimoto's facade encompasses the building's first and second floor arcades and creates a structural waterfall pedestrians can walk under. The Palm Court will house about 20 watch and jewelry brands.
"The neighborhood is evolving organically," Robins said. "Steadily, new things are happening. There's new architecture and new businesses are opening. We control 70 percent. It's nothing like a mall, it's a real place." A real place with amazing art. Zaha Hadid designed an installation, Marc Newson created a fence, and John Baldessari will do an art installation.
Design District rents range from $100 a square foot to $200 a square foot.