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New Miami Icons: Touring 4 Trending Design Destinations in the Magic City


Miami is constantly evolving. In its short lifetime, Miami has grown from a sleepy vacation hamlet to a modern and distinctive international city. It’s loved for its beaches, celebrated for its design, and adored for a uniqueness that no other city can match.

If you blink for a moment, Miami will change. But change is central to its allure. It’s this evolution that brings me back to Miami time and time again.

In the spirit of evolution, my friends at Cadillac hosted an event in Miami to explore the city’s cutting edge design. #DrivenByDesign welcomed me and a group of other design lovers to four of Miami’s new design icons: a museum, a starchitect’s highrise, a megayacht, and a private residence. It was a highlight reel of Miami’s latest accomplishments, curated by Architectural Digest and chaperoned by the 2015 Cadillac Escalade. What I experienced was more proof that Miami is one of the most progressive, visionary cities in the Americas. And I brought my camera along for the ride…

“This post is in partnership with Cadillac”

Perez Art Museum Miami

Cadillac Driven by Design: Perez Art Museum Miami - Exterior Angle

The Swiss architecture group Herzog & de Meuron has been one of the most important design firms of this young century. From the “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games to the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage in nearby South Beach, H&dM has been on quite a roll. The group’s most recent work is the Perez Art Museum Miami, a contemporary art museum on the north end of Museum Park.

The Perez Art Museum is raised above a plot that overlooks Biscayne Bay and the downtown Miami skyline. Its design is both modern and tropical, a clear reflection of Miami’s rich identity. It is characterized by a breezy, open canopy that supports a series of vertical gardens around the building’s perimeter. These lush green gardens and the natural wood canopy echo the brush and palms that grow natively around the plot. The museum is clearly modern, but it feels right at home in the natural environment of Miami.


The Perez Art Museum’s interior is contemplative and functional. Gallery sections are separated by both explicit and implied barriers, allowing natural flow between spaces but clear division between collections. The stairs in one section double as amphitheater seating for presentations and films. The design offering of Herzog & de Meuron clearly gives curators plenty of options for display, allowing for many different arrangements of contemporary art collections.

Cadillac Driven by Design - Perez-Art-Museum-Miami---Fluorescent-Wall

The museum is lit by both artificial and natural light, taking advantage of Miami’s sunny disposition with nearly endless floor-to-ceiling glass. This glass is designed to handle impacts from hurricane winds, a necessity to protect the museum’s collections during extreme weather events.


The Perez Art Museum Miami has as much to offer outdoors as it does within. The large outdoor terrace skirts much of the building, allowing for outdoor event space and a place to take in Miami’s breathtaking scenery. It was likely an intent of the architects to make the enjoyment of Miami a central focus of this design.

Perez Art Museum Miami | Gallery

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1000 Museum by Zaha Hadid

Cadillac Driven by Design 1000 Museum by Zaha Hadid Preview

A mere stone’s throw from the Perez Art Museum, ground is about to break on a new residential highrise by starchitect Zaha Hadid. 1000 Museum (at 1000 Biscayne Boulevard) will be the first project by Zaha Hadid Architects in Miami, and the first residential project by Hadid in the United States. During the #DrivenByDesign event, ZHA associate Chris Lepine took us on a tour of the building’s interior concept.

Hadid’s signature is apparent throughout, even on some of the furniture designs. The space is rich in futurism, echoing the smooth curves of the architect’s exterior designs. It was remarkable to stand in a Hadid project, especially one that has sold in portions starting at $4M per unit. When the building is complete, it will reshape the Miami skyline and become one of its most remarkable design features.

1000 Museum by Zaha Hadid | Gallery

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Seafair Megayacht


The Seafair Megayacht, a 238-foot $40M vessel designed to host art exhibitions and other events in Miami and around the world, is one of the largest yachts in the United States. It hosted the #DrivenByDesign attendees for a keynote address by architect Allan Shulman of Shulman and Associates, who designed the final attraction of the Cadillac event.

The Seafair Megayacht is massive, stately, and progressive in shape. Its top level features a split deck for stunning views of Miami and its other ports of call.

Inside, the yacht combines modernism and luxury, with staple furnishings and a bit of friendly excess. It’s clearly designed for entertaining, with grand rooms for events on each of the public levels.

Seafair Megayacht Gallery

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Camp Biscayne House by Shulman + Associates


[images by Emilio Collavino]

The Cadillac #DrivenByDesign event began with Allan Shulman’s keynote, and it ended with a tour of perhaps his most remarkable work. The Camp Biscayne House is a crowning achievement in Shulman’s tropical modernism, a home that celebrates both the nature and the design identity of Miami.

The home is built in a historic neighborhood within Coconut Grove that is both peaceful and private. It stands over a solution hole, a depression of eroded limestone that creates a natural bowl in the center of the plot. Its structure is large and rectangular, with floor-to-ceiling windows on the bottom level and wood-lined private areas above.


The first floor features the home’s shared spaces, from the dining room to the kitchen to a pair of living rooms. The front living room, with glass walls on three sides, juts out from the rectangular building above the center of the solution hole, providing a truly intimate view of the floral plot on which the home stands.


In the back of the home, a private section cantilevers over a deck with an outdoor kitchen. A swimming pool and hot tub connect on an angle under a manicured green wall. The rear patio and adjacent guest quarters are accessible from within the home or via a breezeway from the front of the house.

The Camp Biscayne House is a prime example of tropical modernism, a home that displays an intimate connection with the local nature while showcasing modern design.


The #DrivenByDesign event showcased four distinct properties in four different genres of architectural design. Each of these new projects is iconic in its own right, a celebration of the versatility and evolution of Miami’s design identity. Miami is constantly changing and growing, and projects like this represent the greatest of this city’s most recent milestones. A special thanks to Cadillac, Architectural Digest and Allan Shulman of Shulman + Associates for this incredible look at Miami design.

“This post is in partnership with Cadillac”

One comment
  1. Fascinating design excellence and cultural vibrancy well brought out in this report. I’ve got to return to Miami and explore all of this. Doing it in one of the Cadillacs, spotted in this report, would make it even sweeter.