Last weekend I hopped a flight to Miami. Driving down I-95 in my rented silver Mustang with Celia Cruz blasting through the stereo, a droopy half moon winking at me from an inky sky and the balmy air smelling of fresh rain and palm trees, I felt hopeful. New York, a very busy job and the inevitable arrival of cold, dry weather had worn me down and I needed to escape. Miami would reinvigorate me. I just wasn’t expecting this kind of reinvigoration.
You see, my escape coincided with Art Basel, that cultural phenomenon of glamour, parties, and lots of art. My father, who lives in Miami, convinced me to forgo the beach in favor of a trip to Design Miami (another show that shares the schedule with Basel) in the city’s coolest area: the design district. So on a late Saturday afternoon we headed over to check out what was happening in home/furniture/industrial design. We saw clusters of lamps shaped like giant teardrops, a chair that looked like liquid metal molded into a lifesize spoon, a lounge chair crafted out of a giant piece of marble into a smooth egg form. We left the show awe-inspired, full of gratitude for artists who make us re-think the conventionalities of everyday form and function, and hungry as hell.
Fratelli Lyon is a casual, cool Italian boite in the district, surrounded by furniture shops. We sat outside, and agreed that after so much innovation, a traditional meal was necessary to root us back into the present. A simple salad, bowls of pasta, and a nice chianti classico sounded so reasonable and so good.
I feel compelled to add that the bottle of wine, a Chianti Classico 2005 from Fontodi Vineyards, holds a place close to my heart not because it was absolutely delicious, but because I visited Fontodi on a trip to Italy a couple of years ago. It’s a small boutique producer in Tuscany and their wines are not widely distributed in the U.S….only at real cool places, of course.
The next day, we did go to Art Basel, where I discovered a photograph by William Klein that won my heart. It’s called Coffee, Woman, Rome and it summed up so many things I love- drinking, fashion, travel. I didn’t have the money to buy it that day, but oh, just to see it.
Fratelli Lyon: 4141 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL. Visit website here.
Art Basel: read more about this important art show here.
Design Miami: it bills itself as a global forum for creating and discussing design, and I have to agree. Learn more.