In the Miami Design District, a garage-museum created by an international parterre of architects and artists: the latest enterprise by Craig Robins, CEO of Dacra Development and co-founder of Design Miami

“Learn the art and put it aside” goes the old adage.

Considering that we do not know or want to give up cars, then it would not be nice to find a garage that generates a stimulating energy field, a pleasure for the eyes and the mood, instead of anonymous and heavy concrete 'boxes' in our congested cities. that often add non-attractiveness to the insipidity of the urban landscape, especially in the suburbs?

Miami docet, thanks to the visionary nature of Craig Robins, founder and CEO of Dacra Development and tycoon of the Miami Design District, the innovative downtown district of the city of Florida dedicated to art, design and architecture. Here stands his Garage-Museum conceived as a work of art, which, spread over seven floors, can accommodate up to 800 cars, along with small retail-mixed use areas.

Robins commissioned architect Terence Riley, former chief curator of the architecture and design sector at Moma, to develop the parking concept, while five international studios – WORKac, J.Mayer H., Clavel Arquitectos, Nicolas Buffe and K/R Keenen/Riley Architects – sign the creative design of the five fronts of the building, declining a mixture of free linguistic, expressive and cultural interpretations.

Riley was admittedly inspired by an old party game invented by the surrealists called Cadavre Exquis, or Exquisite Corpse, in which an artist draws on a piece of paper, folds it and then passes it on to the next. None of the artists know what the previous one did, nor do they know what the next of the circle will do.

There is not so uniformity but continuity between the five facades of the Garage-Museum. They are conceived as three-dimensional canvases that play on the preciousness of the combinations of shapes, materials, and colors, each time producing a different poetry, hybrid and harmonious at the same time.

Considering that among the numerous public works of art in the neighborhood there is also the Fly's Eye Dome, a prototype of the geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller, even parking the car becomes a serious matter. Serious Play reminds us of it, the parking front interpreted, with black and white cartoon, elephants, gargoyles and four gigantic caryatids in metal and resin fiber, by Nicolas Buffe, French artist-designer based in Tokyo and Paris. His creative universe is nourished by the culture of manga, video games and references to Baroque architecture.

It is an imaginary rather distant from that expressed by the American studio K/R Keenen/Riley Architects with Barricades, in the facade conceived as a vertical landscape composed of mirrored stainless steel surfaces and concrete planters, alternating with figurative motifs inspired by orange and white ribbons of the barriers for road construction sites. Amazing for special effects, almost as is Urban Jam, the playful facade imagined by the Clavel Arquitectos studio, with offices in Spain, Miami and Dubai: inspired by Christopher Nolan's film Inception, it stages the science fiction traffic jam (vertically) of 45 silver and gilded cars, made also thanks to the support of the LVMH group.

Another difference is XOX, Hugs and Kisses, the colorful and abstract puzzle front signed with automotive paint striping by the German studio J.Mayer. H, which meets at the roadside Ant Farm, the anthill front designed by the New York studio WORKac, a 3D landscape that recalls public spaces and mass circulation, appearing and disappearing behind a perforated metal screen, together with a luminous line in 'pink Miami'. It makes you happy.

As if to say: if the tiring plan of traffic reality in every big city and megalopolis 2.0 translates into an experience known to all, even the ants in their own small way can smile.


Cover photo: Museum Garage, Miami Design District. Ant Farm, the anthill facade designed by the New York studio WORKac (on the left) meets XOX, Hugs and Kisses, the puzzle front (on the right) designed by the German studio J.Mayer.H. All photos: Courtesy © imagensubliminal - Miguel de Guzmán + Rocio Romero.