What is magical about the Miami Design District is how the many branches of creativity—fashion, art, food, architecture—are effortlessly unified under a single landscape philosophy: intertwining art with nature.
“When Craig Robins set forth his desired philosophy for the Design District’s landscape, everything was to be oriented around providing shade for his guests.” Island Planning Corporation was appointed to design the Landscape Masterplan of the Design District. Nathan, the principal of Island Planning describes. “By working in direct collaboration with the public-installation artists, specifically the creators of Netscape and Nuage, we were able to create interactive, functional sculptures that met Craig’s goal of providing critical shade.”
“The creation of Netscape was an extremely collaborative process. I worked with the industrial designer Konstanin Grcic to create the illusion of being underneath an elevated garden and a vast jungle canopy. The vines that create the canopy were specifically curated from Asia, Central America, and South America,” says Nathan.
Each vine - and there are hundreds that intertwine—releases its own extraordinary flower. Here are three that live above Netscape:
Passiflora edulis, native to South America, gives us the dusty violet and wintery white passion fruit flower.
Thunbergia grandiflora, native to Asia, whose vines release a vibrant blue skyflower.
Image: Thunbergia grandiflora
Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides, otherwise known as the Mexican flame vine, bursts forth sunset orange and mango yellow tropical flowers when in bloom.
Image: Pseudogynoxys chenopodioide from Gardina
The result is a thick canopy above the 24-seat web of hanging chairs. The material of the chairs is austere - fiberglass and polypropylene netting, suspended by metal to form a series of hammock-like swings that rock gently when used by visitors. Under the Southern Florida sun, these mediums heat up - but the organic canopy acts as a heat repellent.
“Flora is one of the most efficient ways to lower the ambient temperature of the District. When we were brought the concept of Nuage, by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, we knew that we wanted to add a wide-range tree that would mirror the cloud motif. We selected a tree from the Ivory Coast that would grow far above the sculpture and provide a canopy for guests - while simultaneously lowering the temperature of Paseo Ponti just as the vines did for Netscape. At the end, the brothers loved the placement - I remember them saying that it completed the work.”
Above: Nuage, Tree: Terminalia ivorensis
The next time you visit the Miami Design District, take a moment to experience the intention of the canopy—under both Netscape and Nuage—and explore how the addition of the natural elements changed your interaction with the art and your time in the neighborhood.