The Month of May saw Miami Metropolitan at the Epicenter of a Number of Glittering Firsts, by Cristiane Roget

Maison + Objet heralded a multi-media moment at the nexus of culture, art and aspiration unlike anything this city has hosted previously.
Commemorating over two decades in Paris (and Singapore) the arrival of Maison & Objet-America (in partnership with Miami’s own Design District) was met with rapt anticipation by South Florida sophisticates. The convergence of over 300 exhibitors at the Miami Beach Convention Center, May 12-15 witnessed the immersion of fashionable European exhibitions with a smattering of bespoke Miami based designers who met the stringent criteria of Maison + Objet’s organizers.

Miami/FL – Maison + Objet heralded a multi-media moment at the nexus of culture, art and aspiration unlike anything this city has hosted previously. The debut of Maison + Objet was reminiscent of earlier incarnations of Art Basel.  Those at the cutting edge of design and  innovation made it their business to attend.  Many greatly appreciated M + O organizers extending the deadline for complimentary admissions to the 11th hour. 

Photo – Alan Mcleenan, Master Chef and (f)ARM Cunsultancy. Mmmm Wynwood, the restaurant with the unpronouncable name; the bustling Wynwood Art District’s best kept secret. Who would imagine the Chef and Co-Owner Alan McLennan, a convivial South African of Scottish descent, sharpened his knives with Chef Michel Guerard recipient of 3- Michelin stars at Eugenie Les Bains, Chef Albert Roux, a 3-star Michelin chef at La Gavroche AND 3-star Michelin Chef Fredy Girardet’s of Cuisine Spontaneẻ, 9 Michelin Stars between them. Florida has yet to ear one.  Michelin are you listening? 

International Restaurant Consultant, Alan McLennan (former Assistant Executive Chef at the Delano, Las Vegas Venetian and who honed his trade with the recipients of Nine! Michelin Stars) knows from where he speaks.  “Maison + Objet was not your typical home show, with displays of Ganzo Knives, Veg-O Matics and Chamois sponges”, commented the striking Scottsman McLennan, who was seeking inspiration and accessories for the interior décor of his Hollywood Headquarters.

“Maison + Objet elevates the definition of luxury goods to a whole new realm” according to Bryce Benson C., co-Founder of Elite Med Spa, Elite Smile Designs and Marketing Director for Body Sculpture Centers of Florida. Next year’s edition is already being called “a red letter day”, a welcome addition to Miami’s renown as a world- class city, non parallel.  With attendance outnumbering that of the recent Maison + Objet in Singapore, “The brilliance and superiority of the exhibitor’s displays caught many off guard,” said Kimberly Marin, Founder of Body Sculpture Centers of Florida

Photo – Kimberly Marin, Body Sculpture Centers of America. With her lovely staff, now with a studio in Coral Gables

Appealing to contemporary tastes the collections on display represented products and design concepts in fine art, home décor, floor and wall treatments, lighting, tableware, furnishings, upholstery fabric, linens, ancient contemporized Turkish carpets, overarching decoration concepts with  fashion accessories, beauty and skin care products to please. 

Photo – Liubnasha Rose, of 1 South Hotel + Homes. Designs with nature as her muse.

One may never know if it was prescience or coincidence that Liubnasha Rose, an inspired muse and fellow interior designer Kemper Hines staged the ravishing reveal of 1 Hotel & Homes – South Beach to coincide with the other seven Miami centric events in May. The gathering called Designed By Nature | Celebrating the 1 Hotel South Beach Designer, honored the designers who brought the Hotelier’s vision to fruition.  That is, to create an enviornment that integrates the natural world with unparraelled luxury.  With a staff that genuinly takes pride in pleasing their family of guests is such a rarity in the bit sluggish tropics.  Designers include Meyer Davis Studio and Nikola Gradinski for the public spaces and rooftop, Débora Aguiar, Samuel Amoia Associates and Artefacto Miami for the residential areas.  Visit their superlative showroom during Swimwear Week, July 16-23. By appointment.   

Earth Day Eve at Vizcaya Gardens (a designate in the National Registry of Historical Places) and the Grand Opening of Blueshift Project – Wynwood  also took place in May in Miami.  The premiere exhibit  featured  a Metal Work Playground by twice gifted, Andrew Levitas, who wrote/directed “Lullaby” with Amy Adams, Anne Archer and Richard Jenkins.

For preservationists the Annual Earth Day Eve at Vizcaya Gardens hosted by Patrice Gillespie, Director of Miami Dade ‘Neat Streets’ & ‘Public Places’ served up samplings of the regions multi-cultured superlative cuisine. Field to table amuse bouche were served up by Alex Martinez and Sublette Hernandez, Corporate Chef and Director of VeRestaurant Group, respectively.   The Italian inspired bites from Segafredo were  paired with succulent libations by Papa’s Pilar, Ernest Hemingway’s namesake aged Rum brand with proceeds earmarked for Reef Restoration in Florida.  

Earth Day Eve celebrants, included representatives from the Audubon Society and Smithsonian Institute with attendees using the occasion to note the beauty and variety of the natural world with a bit of remorse about how humans have treated Planet Earth. Proceeds were dedicated to Million Trees Miami.

Photo – James Quinlan, Co-Founder of Rhythm Foundation, Impressario extraordinaire. C. Roget ( and, Dr. John G. Sarris, Elite Smile Designs Celebrity Dentist, Bryce Benson C., Co-Owner Elite Med Spa.

Produced by Rhythm Foundation; proponents of a global music tradition that spans over a quarter of a century, the monthly Big Night in Little Haiti wrapped up the month of May 2015.  James and Laura Quinlan with Jean De Sousa are Florida’s stewards of world music.  Past performances by headliners Caetano Veloso, Youssou n’Dour (called one of  the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ by Time Magazine) preempted the sure to be history making reunion of Cuban Jazz legends ‘Irakere’ in August. Save the date.  Juepa!

“One indisputable fact is the convergence of the lucky seven events was nothing short of divine inspiration” says Anita Funtek founder of Miami New Construction Show.  Held on the 55th floor of the vertigo producing Viceroy on Brickell Avenue, Anna, Co-Founder of Miami New Construction Show, announced during their VIP May Cocktail “the 2nd Installment of MNCS to be held October 22-25 should be a full house this year.”    

“Metropolitan Miami has taken its rightful place at the global epicenter of urban culture for the new millennium. The draw is the regions complex history.  Unlike the European migrations of the previous century, the demographic hybrid is more apt to be Caribbean, the Southern Hemisphere, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East with New Yorkers making an annual beeline to warmer enviorns,” said recent transplant Joey Sabb from Anadol Rug Co. Atlanta, Georgia and on display at Maison + Objet.  Two other standout Florida based exhibitions were helmed by Wolfgang Hofherr of Authentic Provence and Niba Home with Nisi Berryman

Photo – Anadol Carpets, represented in South Florida by Joey Sabb. Anadol Carpets include ancients weaves of the finest quality contemporized with fresh ideas for modern tastes.

“South Florida is the future.  Seekers of freedom, wealth and boundless opportunity are attracted to the powdered beaches, splendid climate, mysterious flora and fauna and burgeoning urbane complexity,” agreed Paul Sokolski, of Designs of the Future, LLC.  

According to Jim Wilson, Director of Marketing Advertising Manager for Robb Report and Home & Style early converts to the super luxe of Maison + Objet, “Events in May conclusively attest to a fact that Miami has arrived at the pinnacle of  the world’s most dynamic, world revered, diversified urban hubs.” Wow!

Photos by Andrew Kutno, Bryce Benson

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