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FLORIDA Start with a five-story derelict building with 20,000 square feet of interior space and 60,000 square feet of exterior garden space. Add more than 60 installations by renowned interior designers, decorators, and architects. The result? Casa Decor Miami, the first of its kind, brought to the United States at the Miami Woman's Club by president/founder Javier Sanjuanbenito of ADRA Construction and executive vice president/co-founder Esther Jackson, president and C.E.O. of MDS Group and editor-in-chief/publisher of Florida International Magazine.
The concept was born in as Casa Foa 1987 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Mercedes Malbran de Campos. It spread to Brazil and Peru as Casa Cor before launching in Spain in 1992 under the main moniker of Casa Decor. In total, 34 shows are produced throughout Spain and 11 in Portugal, hosting more than 1.5 million visitors combined. Sanjuanbenito secured the franchise to bring it to the U.S. market and collaborated with Jackson to set the design in motion.
“Miami was a natural choice because of its [strong ties] to the cultures of Central and South America, and people were familiar with the Casa Decor concept,” Jackson said. It took six months to find to find the perfect locationthe idea is to overtake vacant commercial buildings from hospitals to post offices to churches. The Miami Woman's Club, built in 1925 in a Mediterranean style, was chosen and within six weeks, it was spruced up with all new electrical and plumbing systems. Now all they had to do was let the creative energy of more than 40 designers, decorators, and architects flow throughout the space into unique designswithin 45 days, of course.
At press time, more than 15,000 visitors had attended the six-week event. On December 17, the design showcase locked its doors to the public, but not before hosting an estate sale to give everyone an opportunity to take a piece of Casa Decor Miami back to their own homes.
Thanks to the renovations made to the Woman's Club, it will remain open as an event space. Sanjuanbenito and Jackson will turn this into an annual event as Casa Decor USA, with stops planned for Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Photos: Casa Décor '06 Miami