Few shopping destinations are flashier than Miami’s burgeoning Design District, where nearly 150 stores are crammed into .2 square miles. So in order to stand out, the architects behind the district’s new Hermès boutique opted to blend in, eschewing bold gestures for a subtler attempt to commune with the surroundings. “We tried to design something extremely discreet,” says Denis Montel, artistic director of the fashion house’s go-to firm, RDAI. “We didn’t feel the need to fight with all the other brands.” It’s not combative, but the architecture makes a statement. Placed between a Cartier and a Waterworks showroom—and hosting Hermès and its sister brand, cristallerie Saint-Louis—the building consists of a glass box nested inside a skeleton of vertical white steel tubes that evoke the landscape.
Montel found inspiration for the striped façade during his first visit to the district, where he noticed the colonnades of trees that shade its streets from the intense Miami sun. “The trees create abstract moving shadows on the buildings,” he says. “We imagined this double skin would have the same effect.” The façade also holds an open interior courtyard punctuated by a tropical tree.
For the interior, Montel paid homage to the area’s DNA by putting the brand’s home collection on the first floor, adjoining the Saint-Louis boutique, the first in the U.S. As a whole, the flagship is a more austere, modern space than other Hermès stores. “The white works really well with the sunny atmosphere,” he says. “It’s very hot outside, but inside it’s calm and fresh.” 163 N.E. 39th St., Miami; 305-868-0118; hermes.com.