The Miami Design District is looking more like Worth Avenue every day. What was once an area strictly for design is undergoing a $312 million renovation to transform it into a high-end retail destination.
Susane Ronai, who has been dubbed the “grande dame” of the design district, has been in her showroom on Northeast 40th St. for 20 years. Now, graffiti on her green façade tells the story that her storefront is being demolished. She is moving to a suite on Northeast Second Avenue, which she describes as the new design-furniture hub. The relocation is set for April, when she plans to give a Grand Opening party.
“My building is a teardown for a new complex accommodating high fashion conglomerates like Chanel,” she says. “I am one of a handful of businesses that Dacra [the developer] is willing and able to keep in the district.”
Since we wrote about the district last February (see story in archives, www.cityandshore.com/departments), only two new designer showrooms have been added. Mad InItaly is devoted to lifestyle furniture, art and home accessories handpicked from Italy. The space also functions as an art gallery for contemporary works of art, paintings and photography. Spazio Di Casa features Italian furniture, kitchens and bathrooms.
“This next year will be incredible,” Robbins said. “A lot of fashion brands will open here and make a big difference.” Recent additions on 40th Street include Prada, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Agnona and Celine.
Designer showrooms are supposed to be open to the public, but some still sell only to the trade.
— Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub