The Miami Herald's Business Monday section retells the almost mythical story of how the Design District, a sleepy but posh neighborhood of furniture stores and design studios, was launched into the mad max construction frenzy it is in today. It begins with Fendi sponsoring Craig Robins' Design Miami fair. The head of Fendi, Michael Burke hears of this creative, cool neighborhood waiting to come alive, and which Robins owns almost all of. He, along with his boss Bernard Arnault, head of luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, jump on board, (LVMH owns Fendi) investing money, and defecting many of LVMH's various brands from Bal Harbour Shops and the monopoly that mall once held on luxury fashion in South Florida.
Everybody dives in, and in a few years out will emerge in no time at all a Miami version of SoHo packed with enough stores of a certain calibre to parallel or even exceed Bal Harbour itself. And yet somehow (according to all predictions) the inherent fakeness that seems to so often come with insta-urbanism is not present. The New Miami Design District is as much a fabulous mall as it is an experiment in Miamian urbanism, perhaps. Maybe this is the magic of the Design District. It will be a mall. It will also be a neighborhood. It will retain its design identity, its furniture stores, its art galleries, its design studios. And it will gain everything else.
· Miami Design District's transformation into a luxury shopping district is underway [Miami Herald]