By Tijana Tamburic
Miami may not be world renowned for its fashion offering, but we guarantee these stores will change your mind.
Great clothes is a given when it comes to these luxury designer boutiques but what really makes them stand out, even on a global stage, is their architecture and design.
Alchemist had three locations in Miami – the first one being our personal favourite but all them unique in their own way.
1 – Level 5
This store, located on the 5th level of the Herzog & de Meuron designed Lincoln Road parking structure, is what made us think differently about what and where a boutique could be. It appears as a glass box that is the central feature of the carpark, visible from many vantage points throughout the city.
In 2011, the space, designed by architect Rene Gonzalez, won a national AIA honor award for interior architecture. To highlight the beauty of the store’s surroundings, Gonzalez used reflective glass and mirror as well as an integrated ceiling installation by London based art collective Random International. The kinetic art piece titled Mercury features 48 moving mirrored panels that flutter as patrons walk beneath it, elevating the traditional retail experience for the client. Through the years the unique nature of the space has been the foundation for many special collaborations and projects and continues to be an iconic landscape for the Alchemist brand.
2 – Lincoln Road
The flagship Alchemist is located on the ground floor of the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage. The design of this location reflects the busy energy of both the product mix and foot traffic. The spirit reads Miami Beach meets Tokyo, with design elements like foam wall paneling with recessed LED lights and chattahoochee flooring that channel a cooler box dropped on the beach. A collaboration with artist Paris Kain provides a surreal backdrop to the space through a series of films featuring palm trees and sunsets that pulsate on a nine panel television installation. Another focal point is the chartreuse fiberglass benches designed by Zaha Hadid specifically for the store, which also includes a custom cooler for refreshments.
3 – Design District
The most recent Alchemist location, in the heart of the Miami Design District, opened in the spring of 2015 with a focus specifically on fine jewelry. Gonzalez was inspired by The Charles and Ray Eames film study The Power of Ten. The layout appears as an optical reference to a journey to the center of the earth with rich materials such as rose gold mirror, costa smeralda marble slabs and onyx, transitioning from rough to smooth throughout the space. On display are jewelry designs from all over the world, each brand carefully selected for their unique voice and fine artisanal craftsmanship.
The Webster, 1220 Collins Ave, is an institution, the kind where you go in to review it but end up buying a Saint Laurent shirt and ACNE leather jacket because the selection of pieces and designers is just too irresistible. From a design perspective it’s instantly striking as it was an art deco hotel, like the buildings either side. Completely renovated with high ceilings and a modernized extension of the lobby, it is now a 20,000 square foot, three-level boutique. The ground floor is a bright and open space focused on contemporary brands and luxury sportswear. The second floor feels like a lavish private residence dedicated entirely to luxury fashion brands from world renowned designers. On the third floor lays a gallery space and corporate offices, where rotating shows, fashion pop-up shops, and special events take place. The roof of the Webster offers an outdoor lounge setting with unobstructed views of the ocean.
To top it off the founder, CEO and head buyer is Laure Heriard-Dubreuil, an inspiring woman, who is responsible for editing The Webster’s exquisite collection and developing retail partnerships and exclusive brand collaborations.
Maison Marie Saint Pierre
Access the Marie Saint Pierre world through the gallery style boutique at 2311, 2nd Avenue, Wynwood. This new luxury store, selling clothes, accessories, furniture and fragrances, is a collaborative space where fashion, art and interior design meet. In addition to providing the collections of the designer Marie Saint Pierre, the space hosts the works of local and Quebec artists. The painter Marc Séguin’s work is currently on display.
Surrounded by the buzz and new developments of Wynwood and its distinctly street art vibe, the MSP store stands out for its minimal, clean design and luxury offering.
March 11, 2016