From TRD‘s South Florida Forum: Miami’s design influence goes global

Leading architects talk about the increasingly competitive market

From left: Steven Gurowitz, John Hitchcox, Karim Rashid and Chad Oppenheim
From left: Steven Gurowitz, John Hitchcox, Karim Rashid and Chad Oppenheim

From the South Florida website: Miami’s latest condo boom is substantially boosting the city’s profile in the design world, according to a panel of leading architects and interior designers who participated in The Real Deal’s Annual South Florida Real Estate Forum & Showcase yesterday.

“Miami is at the forefront of design,” said Chad Oppenheim, whose firm designed Ten Museum Park in downtown Miami and 400 Sunny Isles in Sunny Isles Beach, among other South Florida developments. “We just did our first project in Asbury Park, N.J. The client asked us to give them something from Miami.”

Oppenheim discussed Miami’s global influence and how projects can stand out in an increasingly crowded market with Karim Rashid Inc. founder Karim Rashid, Yoo co-founder John Hitchcox and Interiors by Steven G CEO Steven Gurowitz.

Rashid, who designed the MyBrickell and Paraiso Bayviews condos for the Related Group, said competition in Miami is so intense that developers require the condos they build in one project to look completely different from the others.

“Related is doing exactly that,” he said.

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The architects and designers who didn’t abandon Miami when the recession struck are now reaping the benefits, while others are trying to come back now and playing catch-up, according to Gurowitz.

“When the market collapsed in 2008, I was building a 100,000 square-foot showroom,” he said. “People thought I was crazy. Today, we have $97 million in sales.”

Rashid pointed out a major challenge facing developers of new projects. He said they must figure out ways to create a more intimate human experience through their amenities offerings.

“Today we spend a lot of time looking at screens,” he said. “We need to incorporate more human contact.”

Rashid also noted Miami lacks “something for the middle market and [working class] market.”