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Luminaire Celebrates 40 Years of Good Design

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Welcome to Cult Classics, where our resident Miami expert Patricia Guarch Wise delves into Miami's oh-so-fashionable history. Take out your notebooks, ladies and gents, because you're about to be schooled, Miami style.

Images Via Raquel Zaldivar

I walk past the Luminaire showroom in Downtown Coral Gables, conservatively, three times a week. At least three times a week, I stop and stare at a brown leather bucket chair. I've so stalked this chair that I quickly noticed when they relocated it to a new part of the store.

So this month for Cult Classics, I thought we'd take a deep dive into this store, to actually cross the threshold, go inside and get my hands on not only said chair, but dozens and dozens of other furniture items and accessories at this family-run, Miami design institution. This year, Luminaire celebrates forty years since they first opened their lighting-based showroom in North Miami in 1974. Since then, they've expanded to have showrooms in the Design District, Coral Gables, Chicago, and are headquartered in Doral.

Hope Chandelier by Luceplan ; Blanco Table by Zanotta ; Isabel Chair by Flexform

It seems unlikely that a major powerhouse in the international design world- a store with such close ties to the designers represented on their showroom floor that they create specific pieces just for the Luminaire clientele- would be headquartered in Doral. Well, it makes sense I suppose. Doral is a hub of international businesses, but it's kind of funny to think that somewhere in the hundreds of warehouses in the area is a space full of some of furniture design's most famous and high-end pieces.

The Coral Gables showroom has pieces that would look familiar to anyone with an interest in furniture. These pieces are symbols of good design, so much so that they are frequently imitated, but these are the real deals. You can tell the quality of the pieces by the perfectly finished edges, the heavy materials and the designer names credited on tags instead of brand names.

Classicon Dining Chair by Eileen Grey

Surely, that comes with a hefty price tag, but, I'm reassured that they are the very best deals you can get if you want the real thing. Because Luminaire is so hands-on with their process, including designers that can assist you with this splurgy-purchase, you're guaranteed that the piece truly deserves the price tag. For example, a black dining chair I point out is made by a Japanese designer who takes two weeks to make each chair. Another dining chair that I point out, Eileen Gray's Roquebrune designed in the mid 1920s, has a leather, corset-like detail that is so beautiful- the leather so sumptuous- that I actually start to do the math on how much it would cost to buy six of them. At around $2,100 each it gets too costly before I even multiply it by two.

Watches by Uniformwares

I was surprised, after all my window-shopping at Luminaire, to find that they also have a wide variety of smaller goods including wearable items, home accessories, gifts and a selection of design and architecture books. There's a Margiela key chain, geometric gold bangles, a set of very simple, very well designed stemware that I would give my first-born for, a waterproof Japanese messenger bag made out of paper and some delicious smelling candles.

They're definitely selling a lifestyle at Luminaire, or as they put it, "products that enhance your environment" – and I'm sold on it, but for now I'll still just be daydreaming about those Eileen Gray dining chairs.
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