Design Miami on ‘The Beach’

By Chantal Gloor….

Craig Robins

In his beautifully decorated modern office in the Design District, Craig Robins, President of Dacra Development, spoke to the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce about Design Miami and its future plans with Art Basel.

Dacra Development was founded in 1987, spearheaded the restoration of Miami Beach Art Deco landmarks and developed projects on Lincoln Road and Española Way. Dacra is responsible for transforming the Miami Design District into the trendy location that we know today – a creative and social center for all genres of art. Craig Robins described the present Design District as a creative laboratory for all of the industries it supports from fashion design and art to food. It is home to over 130 art galleries, showrooms, stores and includes restaurants with world renown chefs. Craig Robins’ initiative to rehabilitate the urban planning of the Miami Design District lead to the creation and inspiration for Design Miami.

Design Miami was founded in 2005 at the request of then Art Basel Director Samuel Keller. During this time, Mr. Keller and some of the key art dealers from around the world realized that it was time to create a design event that would complement and be on par with Art Basel Miami Beach. Since Mr. Robins was already focusing on the cultural expansion of the Design District, the project became a natural extension of Art Basel. The fusion of progressive design and art complemented the goal of raising cultural awareness at this yearly event. Craig Robins explained, “The Design District was a design neighborhood prior to Art Basel, and it is now a mixture of both art and design as a result of the event.”

The evolution of Design Miami’s relationship with Art Basel has brought their exhibit from the Design District, where it was held last year, to Miami Beach adjacent to the Art Basel show in the Convention Center. Despite the perception that Miami Beach and the mainland are not connected, this move is a clear signal that they are. Mr. Robins, a Miami Beach native himself, said that he is very excited about the move to Miami Beach, because it represents progress for Design Miami. He explained that there is now “an unbelievable connection between Miami Beach and the Design District.”

According to Craig Robins, “Synergies make all businesses work,” and with the marriage between Art Basel and Design Miami, the inflow of international art collectors and artist has given Miami restaurants and hotels the opportunity to cater to a wide variety of tourists. This time of year brings stiff competition to the restaurant and hotel industry to accommodate to the international art enthusiasts that come to the Miami show every year. Design Miami expanded into Switzerland, where it runs parallel to the original Art Basel in June. The future is very bright for the expansion of Design Miami, and the public is enthusiastic to see all of the upcoming growth that is in store.

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