Miami has become one of America's most foreign cities. Stepping off an airplane or out of the comfort of your air-conditioned car immediately lets you know you really are in the South. The hot vapor, the smell of Cuban coffee wafting through the air, the cackle of Spanish, Creole, Portugese, French, Italian, German and the occasional English accents all come together as proof that you are in a continental stew.
Of course, Miami has always been a welcoming city. It is a large and ever-expanding city that is composed of many small neighborhoods, each with its own identity: the gentried Coral Gables, bohemian Coconut Grove, eclectic Little Haiti, Latin Calle Ocho and ritzy Brickell, just to name a few. Each makes up a key component in what many now consider a World-class city. The new and highly energized Wynwood is making headlines all over the world. For many decades, Wynwood was the home to many manufacturing companies that occupied miles and miles of warehouses.
Design shops and artists studios were among the pioneers of this once abandoned and neglected part of the city. The western part of the district has been put on the map by the vast murals painted by professional and amateur graffiti artists. One can almost spend easily a couple of days in what has become an open-air museum of sorts, known as the Wynwood Walls. Art foundations took note and occupy some of the largest spaces in the area such as the Margulies Collection, the Rubell Family Collection and De la Cruz Family Collection.
In what was once an empty land sandwiched by neighboring low-rise offices and warehouses a unique approach to drinking and dining. Not to be missed is The Yard: an incredibly unique cross between a trailer park and a food court. The center of this gravel-paved venue is a bar that attracts customers from every walk of life: from families with baby-strollers to bearded hipsters and tattooed lanky model-types. Food trucks and other makeshift kitchens prepare delicious foods sure to please everyone.
Further east is what is now known as the Miami Design District. You will think you are on Worth Avenue...but a much more intense version. In what was once a dangerous corner of Miami, now you will find an amazing congregation of world-class architecture housing the most exclusive boutiques anywhere to be found, from Via Montenapoleone to Madison Avenue; Miu Miu and Hermes, Bulgari and Louis Vuitton, Longchamp and Zegna, Givenchy and Dior and — last but not least — Prada and Piaget, too. You get the picture?
Design aficionados won't be disappointed. Head to the 4141 building, where sleek Italian furniture boutiques are on every corner. I would be remiss not to mention the Susane R. Lifestyle Boutique, which is replete with curated high quality vintage home furnishings, art and accessories. An additional bonus is the charming shop owner Susane, whose panache and quick wit is not to be messed with, even when you don't agree with her. I have learned to trust her global taste and savvy advice, much to my benefit.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.