Claudia Martinez: Design District 2021

Student Bio

Hi, my name is Claudia Martinez and I am currently an Economics major at FIU. One of my favorite hobbies is going out and exploring new things including everything that Miami has to offer. When I heard of a different type of class, one that would leave the classroom setting and take you out to see the city for yourself, I knew that was going to be the next class I was going to sign up for. Taking the Miami In Miami during Covid-19 challenged me to get out of the comfort of my home and explore the city by going to new places that I would have otherwise not visited. The course is thought provoking and causes one to think outside the box literally. The course discusses subjects that I find uncomfortable, and I would too often avoid. However, I stand challenged by this class and I look forward to seeing this class expand into greater horizons.

Geograpy

The area covers 0.249 square miles (0.64- km2). The zip codes for the Miami Design District include 33127 and 33137 according to “Wikipedia”.

History

The origins of Design District go back to a pineapple farm in Buena Vista owned by farmer T.V. Moore. In the 1920’s, Moore built the historic Moore Building in the1920’s for a family-owned furniture business known to be the Moore Furniture Building. However, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Design District had fallen into a terrible state of decay and it was not until late 90’s and early 2000’s that art and design stores began opening in this neighborhood. Eventually, Real-Estate developer and art collector Craig Robbins purchased 18 run-down buildings in this area and persuaded top designers in furniture, textiles and other creative mediums to open showrooms and studios in this area. Through out the early 2000’s, design district continued to evolve as streets and sidewalks were redone and new plants and trees were planted there. In 2010, Robbins who is CEO of Dacra partnered with L Real Estate to develop Design District into a luxury based shopping and lifestyle destination for tourists and residents while welcoming exotic architects from around the world to take part in the project. Presently today, one can still see signs of Buena Vista such as the school of Buena Vista and the Buena Vista Post office.

Demographics

As of 2,000, the population of Miami Design District had 1,116 people of which 522 were males and 594 were females. The Median age for males were 26.2 years old while the median age for females were 25.4 years old. The average household size had 3.1 people and the average family size was composed of 3.6 members. The percentage of married couple families was 32.9% while in the other hand family couples with children was only at 17.5%. On the contrary, single mother households made up 20.7% of households and never married females who were 15 years and older made up 19.5% of households according to “Wikipedia demographics” and “points2home”.

Interview


“Reinaldo Martinez”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Claudia: Before starting, just introduce yourself and who you are.

Reinaldo: For starter, my name is Reinaldo Martinez, I am a person who used to live in Design District and thought it would be nice to share my experience of when I was living at Design District.

Claudia: Perfect! Let’s begin with the interview. What made Design District an option for you?

Reinaldo: Well for starters, Claudia, I am an optimist and I wanted to live in an area that was central in its location while I was still able to experience the exotic architecture that makes up part of Miami.

Claudia: In your own words describe Design District and its residents.

Reinaldo: Design District and its residents cannot be confined to a simple description. The people who live in Design District are a beautiful people and they are not afraid to show that. They stay in constant motion and that is something nice to see in people.

Claudia: Great! What did you enjoy most about Design District?

Reinaldo: What I enjoyed most about Design District is the diversity, like I said before its central location, and the exotic design of the neighborhood. The people are pleasant, and I find that to be to be a good attribute in the neighborhood.

Claudia: If you were to introduce someone to Design District, where would you take them?

Reinaldo: Well, first I would take them to one of my personal favorite parts, the Tom Ford store to show off the modern layout of the store, I would show them around the Albert Pallot Park and have them see the water view and lastly, I would take them to museum garage where people may not know it but besides being a hot spot to take pictures it is also a good place to see the skyline of Biscayne Blvd.

Claudia: Thanks Reinaldo, also do you consider Design District to be safe?

Reinaldo: Of course, I consider Design District to be safe, you can walk freely without having to look over your shoulder constantly, there is security around the area which protects the area. As long as you stay away from trouble, you have nothing to worry about.

Claudia: I see… Also, is there anything you would change about Design District. If so, what would it be?

Reinaldo: If there is something I could change about Design District, I would change the belief that you have to be extremely rich to visit the neighborhood. Design District is not restricted to just the opulent class but also anyone who wants to deeply appreciate an outdoor artwork that it is.

Claudia: Okay Reinaldo, one last one: How do you see Design District in the next five years?

Reinaldo: At the current rate that it is going, I see Design District expanding in the Furniture Business as well as the Design sector. I believe that it will have many more great developments worth visiting. Claudia: Thank you Reinaldo for your time in doing this interview.

Landmarks

The Moore Building


“2nd floor of the Moore Building” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

The Moore Building is located in the heart of Design District. This was the first building built in the back then Buena Vista neighborhood and present-day Design District. This was actually the first furniture showroom space for Moore and Sons and was also going to be the first of many furniture stores to come in the future to Design District. The building is comprised of four floors of arcaded spaces with a central atrium.

Jungle Plaza


“Jungle Plaza” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

The following landmark is Jungle Plaza which is the ideal place for festivals, live performances and other events. The Plaza’s name is derived from the large “Jungle” mural created by collaborative art in hopes of portraying the exotic southern Floridian landscape as well as the neighborhoods urban landscape according to “miamiandbeaches”.

Palm Court


“Claudia Martinez at Palm Court” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Palm Court is an event space for pedestrians to walk at their own leisure. This area was designed by Japanese Architect Sou Fujimoto and Aranda. The court is surrounded by, you guessed it, palm trees, a white eclectic orb amid a fountain according to “Miami Design District”.

Greenspaces

Albert Pallot park

” Albert Pallot Park”, By Claudia Martinez, CC by 4.0

Albert Pallot Park is a beautiful, pleasant greenspace park by the water. The park is composed of grassy green areas for picnics and a sidewalk with benches right by the water. This park also contains a recreational playground for children to play in as well as a pair of dominos sculpture and also happens to be free. The park is located right off 195 and Biscayne Blvd according to “Yelp”. Whether you want to catch a sunset, sunrise or just spend some leisure time, this is the park to go to.

Morning Side Park

“Morningside Park”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Located along Biscayne Bay, amid the historic Morningside neighborhood, the park is surrounded by a large array of trees. This park is free with a large amount of grassy green areas, boat ramp, fishing areas, recreational areas for children, kayak and paddleboard rentals and a beautiful water view. This park is regularly watched over by police making this a secure and protected park to spend time in. The hours are from sunrise to sunset according to “tripadvisor”.

Rooftop Garden

Located above the garden building of design district, the Rooftop Garden showcases mahogany trees, a unique maize made up of Jamaican wood hedges and accented with railroad vines and philodendrons according to “Miami Design District”. This garden was designed by landscape architect Nathan Browning with Island Planning who aimed to bring a modern look to the rooftop garden.

Transportation

Trolley and Bus

Design District provides its residents and tourist with free transportation via the trolley. Trolleys that circulate the Design District area include the Biscayne-Brickell trolley, the little Haiti trolley and the Wynwood trolley according to “Miami gov”.  If you want to catch a bus, you can catch the J bus, the 9 bus and the 110 bus which leave you at Design District as well according to “Miamigov”.

Car

The East side of Design District is conveniently situated next to Biscayne Blvd, the west side meets the I-95 and its southern border begins at Florida state road 112. Another major road is the Florida 944 that leads to the north border of the Design District neighborhood.

Walking or Biking

Walking or biking is acceptable, and some may even view it as a fashion statement as you can stop at your own leisure to take a quick picture at the colorful buildings of your choice.

Food

“Dior Rooftop Cafe”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Dior Rooftop Café

Dior Café is the only Café that Dior has opened within the US and currently the only one in the whole world. The café provides gourmet croissants, mouthwatering gelatos and signature Dior coffee.  Despite the Designer brand name, the décor brings its guests a fresh down to earth type of atmosphere according to “Miami Design District”. Customer service is amazing as waitresses and waiters are not overburdened with an excess of clientele.

Little Hen

“Little Hen”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Little Hen experienced a boom in popularity after Instagram bloggers began showcasing this restaurant on their Instagram feeds. This restaurant is unique for its floral décor and royal blue walls. Little Hen is not only widely popular for its beautiful décor but also for its breakfast and brunch-based menu options and its carefully decorated coffees as stated by “Little-Hen”.

Swan

“Swan”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

The Swan restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining destinations from experts David Gutman and Pharrell Williams. Swan’s menu varies throughout the seasons and market available ingredients, that provide its guests new and interesting flavors all year round. The menu consists of rustic cuisine and a wide variety of options for everyone according to “TripAdvisor”.

Businesses

Nisi B Home

“Nisi B Home” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Nisi B Home is known for offering that carry out glamour and a unique style to the room it decorates. The furnishings are hand made from small producers. Whether you are looking for a different type of chandelier or colorful objects to spark a room, there is something for everyone that this furniture store has to offer that will suit any unique style. Nisi B opened up in 2004 and helped many local designers and retailers’ style and complete their projects with its diverse mix of lighting accessories and furniture. Nisi B home has influenced how other parts of design district are put together. If you are a little bit more specific about what you want, Nisi B offers customizing a variety of materials according to “MiamiDesignDistrict”.

Monica James & Co


“Monica James & Co Furniture Store” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

On the second business that we are checking off is Monica James & Co and you guessed it, it is an additional furniture store. Design District is known for its unique décor style and just as its origins started with the Moore furniture building, it is surprising to see how this initial business left a lasting impression on present day furniture businesses in Design District. This showroom offers contemporary home furnishing, textiles, art and many other accessories from around the world. The showrooms tradition remains until this day as their collections have been curated to include eclectic lines of the interior design industry according to “MonicaJames”.

Emilio Robba

“Emilio Robba Flower Design”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Emilio Robba is known to be as the “sculptor of flowers”. Well known to be a symbol of fashion for over 25 years, Emilio Robba uses artistic talent and innate understanding of nature to create an appealing brand highly admired by architects, interior designers, and individual consumers worldwide. Thanks to Emilio Robba and his creative influence, we are able to have have today the development and evolution of silk botanicals. Robba refers to his collection of decorative elements as “Nature’s Sights Unseen”. Robba’s aim is to bring a refreshingly new addition to an already decorated room according to “Houzz”.

Summary

Design District is a trendy upbeat neighborhood that makes up part of present-day Miami. However, the truth is that most of its residents are white collar workers and only small portion are blue collar laborers creating a gap between class hierarchy. On the other hand, Pinecrest is largely thought of as a luxury that only the rich can take but the truth of the matter is that that is a myth as Design District is open to all Miami’s residents and all visiting tourists. Just like many neighborhoods in Miami, Design District has come a long way starting from its Moore Furniture Building at the Buena Vista neighborhood and is now a hotspot for designers to showcase their art pieces and design. I know that Design District will continue to progress and expand and add more diversity to its neighborhood as it has been doing so since its origins. I believe with the equality movements that are taking place on this day,  there will be more diversity of minority groups living in this neighborhood together.

Citation

Wikipedia. “Miami Design District”, Demographics. | Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Design_District

Point 2. “Miami Design District Demographics” |Miami Design District Population Demographics, 2019. https://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/FL/Miami-Design-District-Demographics.html

Miami Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The Official Site of Greater Miami” |Moore Elastika, 2021. https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/business-resource/moore-elastika/977#:~:text=Th

Miami Design District “Jungle Plaza | Miami Design District . https://www.miamidesigndistrict.net/event-venue/742/jungle-plaza/

Miami Design District |Palm Court. https://www.miamidesigndistrict.net/event-venue/744/palm-court/

Yelp. “Albert Pallot Park” | Yelp, 30 Sep. 2020  https://www.yelp.com/biz/albert-pallot-park-miami

Trip Advisor. “Morningside Park” | TripAdvisor, Jan. 2019.  https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34438-d10499495-Reviews-Morningside_Park-Miami_Florida.html                

Miami Design District. “ Dior’s Rooftop Café  Is Your Chick New Dining Spot” | Miami Design District, 16 Jan. 2019. https://www.miamidesigndistrict.net/blog/entries/784/diors-rooftop-cafe-is-your-chic-new-dining-spot/

Little-Hen. Contemporary Breakfast and Brunch. “Home of The Rose Petal | LittleHen. https://www.little-hen.com/#:~:text=Little%20Hen%20is%20an%20English,homely%20accents%20and%20luxurious%20touches.

The City Of Miami. Miami. “Get Trolley Information, Schedules & Maps”.  | MiamiGov, 2020. https://www.miamigov.com/Services/Transportation/Get-Trolley-Information-Schedules-and-Maps

Miami Design District. “Nisi B Home”. | Miami Design District.  https://www.miamidesigndistrict.net/listing/24/nisi-b-home/

Monica James. “Monica James & Co Showroom Is Located in the Heart of the Miami Design District” | MonicaJames, 2021. https://monicajames.com/

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