The Dazzling Public Art of Miami's Design District

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Miami Design District Jungle Plaza
Courtesy Miami Design District
Miami Design District Jungle Plaza
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Fujimoto Waterfall by Sou Fujimoto, 2014
©R. Chelseth/Flickr, Creative Commons
Fujimoto Waterfall by Sou Fujimoto, 2014

When International Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto was tapped to design the Palm Court building at the Miami Design District, he conceptualized a blue, glass façade that mimics the city's summer rain. The result is a visual tour de force that wraps the structure and creates a glistening pedestrian walkway. 140 NE 39th St., Miami, FL

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Design District, Vortex, 2014
Courtesy Miami Design District
"Vortex," 2x4, 2014

Get pulled into the optical illusion created by "Vortex," a wall mural created by 2x4, a collaborative studio of writers, designers, animators and programmers from New York City. This conversation piece also makes for a cool Instagrammable-worthy photo.

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Elastika by Zaha Hadid, 2005
©Andrew Hektor/VISIT FLORIDA
"Elastika," Zaha Hadid, 2005

"Elastika," designed by the late groundbreaking architect Zaha Hadid, is a commissioned sculptural installation located inside the atrium of the 1920s Moore Building. 191 NE 40th St., Miami, FL

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Le Corbusier by Xavier Veilhan, 2013
©Phillip Pessar/Flickr, Creative Commons
"Le Corbusier," Xavier Veilhan, 2013

This larger-than-life fiberglass bust, made of resin and stainless steel by French artist Xavier Veilhan pays tribute to the renowned architect at work with a pen in hand. Palm Court, 140 NE 39th St., Miami, FL



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Miami Design District Jungle Plaza
Courtesy Miami Design District
"Flotsam & Jetsam," SHoP Architects, 2016

The 2016 Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award winner, SHoP Architects used 3D printing and next-generation technology to create the sea life-inspired pavilions of its celebrated installation "Flotsam & Jetsam." Jungle Plaza, 3801 NE First Ave., Miami, FL

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Fly's Eye Dome, Buckminster Fuller, 1979-2014
"Fly's Eye Dome," Buckminster Fuller, 1979-2014

Designed and patented by Richard Buckminster Fuller in 1965, this recreation of the geodesic dome at the Design District uses state-of-the-art materials and innovative techniques to complete Fuller's pioneering vision for low-cost portable housing. 140 NE 39th St., Miami, FL

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City View garage
©Robin Hill
City View Garage

IwamotoScott was commissioned, together with New York based architects Leong Leong and Southern California based artist John Baldessari to design the 559-space City View parking garage that features a metal screen made of different materials to provide natural ventilation. 3800 NE First Ave., Miami, FL

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FENDI Miami, Johanna Grawunder, 2015
©Robin Hill
FENDI Miami façade, Johanna Grawunder, 2015

The vibrant fluorescent orange color on the exterior of FENDI's Miami Design District flagship store is the work of artist Johanna Grawunder, which is also lit up at night through recessed LED lights. 150 NE 40th St., Miami, FL

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DASH fence, Marc Newson
©Marc Newson
DASH Fence, Marc Newson, 2007

The 100-foot metal fence on the perimeter of the Design and Architecture High School is made to simulate waves that create changing patters up close and from a distance. 4001 NE Second Ave., Miami, FL

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Jungle by 2x4, 2014
©Robin Hill
"Jungle," 2x4, 2014

The jungle scene collage mural by 2x4 NYC-based collaborative studio, is befitting its location at the Jungle Plaza of the Design District. A visual representation of South Florida's urban landscape, the mural features vibrant colored animals and foliage. 3801 NE First Ave., Miami, FL

By Victoria Cervantes

In the 1920s T.V. Moore, a pineapple farm owner, opened a store in the Design District to help his workers furnish their homes. Quickly the area became known as the place to shop for furniture and home décor. 

Then, in the 1970s the neighborhood like its neighbor—Wynwood—fell into neglect as a warehouse and industrial district.

Now, the Design District is a hotbed for art, design and fashion, revitalized in large part by the Miami Design District development. The destination is a magnetic for creatives enticed to the area by the District's lineup of galleries, design showrooms, acclaimed restaurants, ultra-high end luxury retailers and a contemporary art museum. The walkable neighborhood brims with cultural activities complemented by its enviable collection of murals, sculptures and art installations that can be found everywhere from parking garages to courtyards and sidewalks. 

Free public art tours of the area's more than 30 works of art are offered twice a month and start at 6 pm from Jungle Plaza, 3801 NE First Ave., the last Wednesday of each month and at 2:30 pm, the second Sunday of each month.

Victoria Cervantes
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