October 08, 2014
By Suzy Buckley Woodward | Food
Miami Mainstay: Chef Michael Schwartz's Culinary Prowess
Photo courtesy of Kyle Johnson

“Timing is everything,” says Michael Schwartz (above) when asked to explain the wild success—and longevity—of his Miami Design District bistro Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 NE 40th St.; 305-573-5550).

It opened in 2007, when the farm-to-table movement was in full swing and a mini backlash was brewing against the lavish and swank. “It was a moment when people were ready to redefine what fine dining was, and that it didn’t have to mean getting dressed up to go to a fancy place where you’d talk quietly.” Almost overnight, Schwartz’s menu and simple, loft-like room earned him praise. “I’m not going to say I knew Prada, Cartier and Louis Vuitton would spring up next to me,” laughs the 50-year-old, who went on to open Harry’s Pizzeria (3918 North Miami Ave.; 786-275-4963) and The Cypress Room (3620 NE Second Ave.; 305-520-5197). 

Though in the end, it’s not the zip code but rather his memorable dishes—especially the particularly outstanding côte de boeuf—that fueled the Schwartz frenzy.

October 08, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Shopping
France's Top Cookware Comes to the U.S.

If you’re only as good as the tools you use, then a brand new line of pots and pans has arrived to bring out the greatness in you. This month, France’s top-selling cookware line, Cristel, launches a brand-new collection, Casteline Tech, designed exclusively for Bloomingdale’s in the U.S.

In keeping with the brand’s Cook & Serve concept, first developed by the Dodane family in 1987, the Casteline Tech series is as beautiful as it is pragmatic. Made with five-ply stainless steel, an aluminum core and a polished stainless steel finish for exceptional thermal efficiency, Casteline Tech borrows the best features from the brand’s two older lines—the Casteline and Strate.

Designed to maximize storage space without sacrificing style, each pot and pan has detachable handles and flat lids. Not only are they more stackable than average cookware, but they’re also sleek enough to function as a striking serving pieces. (They’re also all dishwasher-safe.)

“The products had to be beautiful to be put on the table, [but also] practical,” says designer Paul Dodane, who had 20 years of experience in automotive engineering with Peugeot before his family took the reins at Cristel. “The removable-handles conception is the original expression of the balance I was looking for.” Casteline Tech starts at $120 per piece, eight-piece set for $600, 12-piece set for $1,000;

October 06, 2014
By Mark Ellwood | Art
Bas Fisher Invitational in 15 Minutes
Photo courtesy of Naomi Fisher

This decade-old contemporary space was cofounded by artists Hernan Bas and Naomi Fisher—“We liked how our names together sounded, like a fishing tournament,” Fisher says. BFI programs edgy and experimental work, whether visual, video or performance art. Spend 15 minutes inside the space to see whatever exhibition has taken over the gallery, then allow an afternoon to join a Weird Miami tour, Bas Fisher’s signature series, in which an artist is given free rein to take visitors on a mystery tour through the city, helping them discover the forgotten, hidden or overlooked places and things that define Miami. At 100 NE 11th St.;

October 06, 2014
By Josh Dean | Art
AIRIE's (Wet) Land Art
Photo courtesy of Dana Levy

Founded in 2001, Artists in Residence in Everglades, or AIRIE, is one of the country’s most unusual programs. Fellows, such as New York–based visual artist Dana Levy (see her on-site installation, Emerging from the Swamp, above), spend a month alone in a cabin deep in the Everglades, with air-conditioning­, spotty Internet, a bike, a kayak and free rein of the 1.5 million­–acre park. So far, 110 fellows—artists but also writers, musicians and even dancers—have been selected to live and work among the alligators and panthers and inva­sive pythons. The lonely, spartan experience can occasionally be shocking. One artist from Hollywood, Florida, packed up her things after the first day and began to drive away, only to have a change of heart and turn around. “The next day,” says Deborah Mitchell, AIRIE’s executive director, “she had this pivotal experience that made her want to stay.”

October 03, 2014
By Marnie Hanel | Art
Miami's MOCA Divided
Leif Parsons

A two-year scuffle between the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the city of North Miami will come to a close in November when part of MOCA will become the Institute of Contemporary Art and move to an interim facility in the Design District. The rest of MOCA will stay in North Miami. It remains to be seen which artworks will go to which institution.

October 02, 2014
By Georgette Moger | Wine
A New Visitor Center Opens at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Courtesy of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

In 1976, at the historical Judgment of Paris tasting, one humble Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley left the discriminating panel of French palettes gobsmacked. Awarded first place, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’s 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon effectively catapulted California’s name onto the international vinicultural map.

Maintaining its reputation for elegant wines of velvet intensity, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has become one of the most essential stops on the Napa Valley wine trail for oenophiles. Now, thanks to the winery’s brand-new Stag’s Leap FAY Outlook & Visitor Center, it’s even more of an attraction for design enthusiasts, too.

The 6000-square-foot space was built in collaboration by Barcelona-based architect Javier Barba and local architect Dan MacDonald and will host myriad tastings, events and private club activities. Designed with the surrounding landscape in mind, over 300 tons of stone boulders were sourced from the winery’s land; a wall of glass windows offers a panoramic perspective on the winery’s estate vineyards below and the appellation’s namesake palisades beyond.

“I took inspiration from the angles of the Stag’s Leap rock formation and elements of the stories Native Americans told of an enormous Stag that eluded hunters as it leapt to safety from rock to rock,” says Barba. “The Visitor Center is exposed, growing from the site, embracing the sky and the surrounding countryside. Its emotional appeal is rooted in the integration of the wine-tasting experience held within the estate vineyards, right where the wines are produced, with views of extraordinary beauty.” 5766 Silverado Trl.; 707-944-2020;

October 02, 2014
By Robert Khederian | Shopping
Saint Laurent Reopens on Rodeo Drive
Courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent

The moment Hedi Slimane struck Yves from the Saint Laurent name in 2012 and moved the label’s atelier to Los Angeles, it became apparent that big changes were in store for the iconic French fashion house.

It’s unsurprising, then, that when the name was renovated, so too were the brand’s boutiques. The visual concept Slimane laid out for Saint Laurent is perhaps no better embodied than in the recently reopened Rodeo Drive store. Clad in black Noir Soie and white Statuaire marbles with accents of brass and leather, the 10,000-square-foot womenswear flagship reimagines the Art Deco aesthetic for a modern age.

The dramatic three-level space is characterized by the repetition of sleek geometric forms. Even the central staircase, which commands the first floor with its striking use of chrome, mirror and marble, transforms the simple act of climbing stairs into a nearly monumental event. And as the altitude increases, so does the level of exclusivity of what’s on offer: The first floor houses casual accessories and clothing; the second floor is reserved for ready-to-wear and shoes; the third has been transformed into a private dressing salon.

Need a break from shopping? Relax into the vintage furniture by modernist designers like Marcel Breuer, Jean Prouvé and Jacques Adnet, whose like-minded aesthetic complements Slimane’s sleek vision. And while the store may only be for women, fear not, gents: A mere two blocks away is a shop dedicated to menswear—decked in the same Saint Laurent–approved outfit of metal and marble, of course. 326 N. Rodeo Dr.; 310-271-4110;

October 02, 2014
By Frank Vizard | Automobiles
Volvo Relaunches With New Luxury XC90 SUV
Courtesy of Volvo

These days, there’s nothing cooler on the design spectrum than objects of Scandinavian provenance. It’s no surprise, then, that Swedish carmaker Volvo should reassert its own Nordic identity (after being sold off by Ford Motor Company in 2010) with its new XC90 SUV, due out in the U.S. in spring 2015.

More than just another SUV people-hauler, the XC90 is characterized by the simple and uncluttered yet sophisticated philosophy typical of Nordic design. That effort is nowhere more evident than in the front grille, whose oversized iron mark harkens back to the badge used on the original 1927 Volvo. The running lights on either side reach even farther back into the company’s Viking past, resembling the t-shape of Thor’s Hammer. Plus, the hybrid version even boasts a crystal gearshift made by renowned Swedish glassmaker Orrefors.

Yet even as the car pays homage to its Scandinavian past, from the inside, the XC90 looks straight into the future. From the driver’s seat, the eye is immediately drawn to the easy-to-use touchscreen display on the center console, which makes for (virtually) button-free operation of all the seven-seater’s features. Among them is rolling WiFi connectivity and a superb Bowers & Wilkins sound system with an eye-catching tweeter prominently mounted on the center of the dashboard. The ever-safety-conscious Volvo also employs a novel—and world-first—automatic braking system that activates should, for example, the car turn in front of an oncoming car in the next lane. The XC90 also is festooned with cameras and radar that make up the backbone of additional safety features.

But while Volvo embraces the Viking legend, the XC90 may put one enduring myth to rest: that car buyers care about how many cylinders are under the hood. The standard here is a four-cylinder turbocharged engine, while the top-of-the-line version is a four-cylinder hybrid, rated at 400 horsepower. No big V8 or V6 engines here, proving that more bells and whistles don’t always add up to more power. Thor, of course, would agree. Starts at $48,900;

October 01, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Books
Robert Couturier's International Style
Jens Mortensen

To French-born, New York–based Robert Couturier, any book about an interior decorator can read like an obituary. “It’s either boring—or deadly,” he says. His own monograph, Robert Couturier: Designing Paradises, out September 23 from Rizzoli, however, is a lively, personal affair, with a large section dedicated to his own home in Kent, Connecticut. The rest of the 224-page tome showcases just a few of Couturier’s most emblematic projects over 30 years, many done in his signature classical French style roughed up with a sense of humor (a jazzy piece of fabric, a surprising objet d’art). From a sprawling Mexican hacienda to a modern Manhattan apartment, the pages pay testament to Couturier’s aesthetic versatility—it ends up being anything but an epitaph.

October 01, 2014
By Mark Ellwood | Art
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in 45 Minutes
Photo courtesy of Steven Brooke Studios

This is the sumptuous Coconut Grove villa of industrialist James Deering, a Golden Age Elton John with a magpie’s instinct for collecting.

For the first 20 minutes, visitors should wander the Hearst Castle–like interiors, a mash-up of European antiques and fixtures. Then, in the next 25 minutes, dawdle in the gardens, now often host to contemporary art exhibitions. Don’t miss the mermaid-adorned waterfront barge that sits in front, designed by Sterling Calder, father of mobile designer Alexander. “When it was done, Deering complained to Calder that the female figures were too well endowed,” says museum executive director Joel Hoffman, “and requested they be rendered more modest.” At 3251 S. Miami Ave.;

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