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Lifestyle
22 September 2014
Lincoln Road: my version of la piazza
As Italians, we love our piazza. With the movies from the Dolce Vita it became known to a non-Italian audience that it all revolves around the center of town where you meet for the usual coffee, cornetto e chat, to stroll after Sunday mass and buy the newspaper or school supplies at la cartoleria and pizza on Saturday night. Because we must admit (and be proud) we are such peacocks that we love strutting and show our best repertoire.
In Miami Beach we have an American version to that: the plaza surrounding 1111 Lincoln Road. There may not be the bell tower or the church, but the plaza is a convergence of retail, parking and shopping experiences with nothing to envy to no other. It welcomes you in all its splendor, unexpected, at the very end of Miami Beach’s n.1 pedestrian promenade.

I brag to consider this coul-de-sac of Lincoln Road my version of la piazza - it gives me flashbacks of the strolls in la Passeggiata in Viareggio, the Art Deco strutting location of my youth. There’s a subdued white noise, a mix of car traffic, plates served on tables, children running in and out of the art installation, dogs barking and, if you go early in the morning, birds chirping. The vegetation is 100% Made in Florida, so real that makes you crave for a pink flamingo to pop-up like in the card game of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland. 

A couple of small ponds anchor the art installation called ‘Morris’ – Dan Graham dedicated it to Morris Lapidus, visionaire genius of Lincoln Road and Miami Beach at its glory. It’s a 10-foot glass structure that invites people in and provides them a distorted vision of the outside due to its transparency and curvaceous shape. 
Taschen is what defines the art scene all together with its utterly inviting art and coffee-table books. Babalu is ensconced in a curve of the alley that from Lincoln Road takes you to the back of the block. Its collection of fine fragrances, candles, sunglasses and Moleskines is equal to no other in Miami Beach. One of the owners, Paolo, says that they are “the antithesis to a department store” Maison Laduree needs no introduction, just know that it will spoil your palate one bite at a time with a risk of Fata Morgana effects of having visions of la Tour Eiffel. 
Alchemist has actually two locations, one at street level and the other one ‘sunset’ level (remember I mentioned it as my favorite sunset spotting on Sundays?). It brings the plaza to a cutting-edge international standard. Just as an example, December of last year, during Art Basel Miami Beach, they collaborated with the Parisian retail heaven Colette and created an Art Drive-Thru in the parking garage with roller-blading sales assistants and state of the art take-out computer screens installed in cement columns.  Serendipity gives you the effect of jumping into a movie set as in the eponymous American movie where John Cusak and Kate Beckinsale fall in love in front of their famous “frozen hot chocolate”.

There’s more to 1111 Lincoln that meets the eye, the international flair makes it always a surprise - you never get bored of it. 

Francesca

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