MIAMI VENUES: WYNWOOD - "One Of The Coolest Neighborhoods In The World" (Vogue Magazine) / by Eric Monteiro

Miami boasts some unique, world-class venues that are anchored in the culture and history of the city. A few of these venues are located in the Wynwood Arts District and The Design District, two distinct neighborhoods that have been resurrected and are now destinations for artists, designers, upscale shopping, trendy nightlife and gourmet dining experiences.

The Wynwood Arts District has gained international acclaim and has been featured in countless photo shoots, music videos and commercials. In fact, Longchamp, the French luxury leathergoods company, chose Wynwood for one of the videos in their iconic campaign featuring British model and fashion muse, Alexa Chung. The colorful streets of Wynwood provided the perfect backdrop for Longchamp’s Fall 2015 collection:

Press play and follow Alexa Chung through Miami's Wynwood Art District! Soundtrack : Ex's & Oh's by ELLE King

I spoke with Nathalie Merle, founder of SOLEA EVENTS. Originally from Paris, Nathalie came to Miami to study hospitality management. Miami’s vibrant hospitality and events industry kept her here, and sixteen years later she is still managing an array of upscale corporate and social events. SOLEA produced the beautiful “urban chic” wedding we catered at the MAPS Backlot and posted on the blog last week. (Read about it here)

Photo: Joshua Kane

Nathalie says she’s noticed an increase in demand for chic, urban venues and non-traditional type settings from both local and out-of-town clients. Nathalie also pointed out that Wynwood and the Design District are in the mid-town area which is a quick 10 minute drive from hundreds of the best hotels in Miami Beach, Downtown and Brickell, so brides and guests can get hair and makeup done at their hotel before a short drive to the location. She also noted that most of the urban venues in Wynwood and The Design District have a loft-style feel that provides a blank canvas to create any sort of theme.

The Wynwood Walls was the brainchild of community revitalizer, the late Tony Goldman. He was the visionary behind the 1970s revival of SOHO in Manhattan and South Beach in the 80s. His idea for Wynwood was simple: the neighborhood is made up of warehouse spaces with no windows, why not use these walls as canvases to showcase the work of some of the world’s most talented street artists? Fifty artists from 16 countries have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls with some of the most astounding artwork that attracts an eclectic crowd of locals, tourists and art and fashion aficionados. This dynamic video tells the inpiring story of how Tony Goldman created Wynwood:

The Wynwood Walls property is the perfect venue for any event and guests find themselves immersed in a unique environment that will leave an indelible impression.

Nathalie Merle said that weddings in Wynwood venues lend themselves to really fun times for the rehearsal dinners and photo shoots which take place in this exciting neighborhood with so much to offer visually, not to mention that it's bustling with life and activity at all hours. Photographers and videographers are also really excited when hired for weddings and other events in Wynwood due to the unique backdrop provided by this photogenic neighborhood.

On the outskirts of Wynwood, on the corner of NW 14th St and North Miami Avenue, sits an historic building that has been there since 1923. THE ICE PALACE STUDIOS used to be an ice factory in the days before refrigeration when ice was a luxury. Today the building maintains a few decorative details that remind us of the era of luxury the building was built to serve. The Ice palace is a magnificent structure. As you approach from the street, the top of the beautifully renovated white façade peeks over a perfectly maintained hedge. Impeccably manicured gardens wrap around the studios which house over 80,000 square feet of event space divided into 3 large studios and lobby.

Nathalie Merle said that the sheer scale of the Ice palace means it lends itself more to large corporate events, product launches, fashion shows and concerts, and that a venue of that size is perfect for creating vignettes, or breaking the space up into different areas. Oscar de la Renta’s last show before he passed away was held at The Ice palace. There were 3000 people in attendance for a benefit gala for the UM Sylvester Cancer Center, and Mr. de la Renta donated $100,000 to cancer research. A few years ago the Ice Palace Studios housed the PULSE Art Fair during Art Basel, and many film and commercial photo shoots take place there too.

Thierry Isambert Culinary and Event design catered the 19th annual Best Buddies Gala for 900 guests at the Ice Palace in November 2015. The star-studded event was incredible, raising $2.5 million for the organization and was named the top benefit gala in South Florida in 2015 by BIZBASH.

Once she started working in the hospitality industry and producing events in Miami, Nathalie Merle said she didn’t want to leave because of what a great city Miami is for event production. There is a wide variety of stunning venues, from the urban chic (discussed here,) to the historic mansions with water views, and exquisite gardens where guests linger beneath twinkling lights and massive trees, enjoying the warm weather Florida offers year round while the rest of the country is freezing! She said that all the fun times guests get to experience around the main event are unique to Miami, such as pool parties and fun restaurants (often outdoors) for rehearsal dinners. She also said that the professionalism of the vendors she works with in Miami is unparalleled. There are great teams of vendors here who really go above and beyond to make sure that every event is simply perfect!

Stay tuned for the next post about venues in The Design District.

Check out our website for a list of amazing South Florida venues.

This preview of Justin Peck's newest work for Miami City Ballet (MCB), Heatscape, premiering on March 27, 2015, was shot on location at the Wynwood Walls. Commissioned by MCB artistic director Lourdes Lopez, the new work will feature original art design by Shepard Fairey.