Liz Gardner’s Miami

  • Field Notes

Liz Gardner is a stylist and creative director living in, working in and totally owning Minneapolis (though she’d never say so herself). To celebrate the launch of AC Hotel Miami Beach, we sent Liz to explore Miami and, guided by her passion for design, this is what she found.


Colors. This is the view from the balcony of my AC Hotel room. Standing here, I realize that Miami is not what I assumed it would be. It is more tropical and less “American” that I had imagined in my mind, despite standing in one of nearly 200 hotels that line Collins Ave. The colors strike me. The original Spanish influence shows up in shapes and tones. The colors feel like me. I think that is an astonishing thing about traveling; how can a place that you’ve never been feel familiar?



Hotel Culture. In preparation for our trip, I read about architecture in the Clog Miami issue. (It’s a good one.) Aside from the significance of parking structures, the other thing that stood out to me was the design and storytelling of the hotels. Sean McCaughan was quoted as saying “Hotels became the venues in which Miami’s architecture spoke the loudest.” And walking down Collins Ave, it’s true. The look and feel of Miami screams from its hotels in the form of stylized “vintage” type, colors, the art deco influence of lines, repetition, and drama.




Type love.




South Beach. From a personal taste perspective, the colors, shapes and design aesthetic of South Beach are lovely – even the Dade County Health Dept (it’s pink)!





Parking Structures. Parking structures in Miami are lovely. There is the famed and obvious 1111 Building designed by Herzog & de Meuron (who have designed the entire city). But even the old ramps on Ocean Drive (shown) have detail and intention that these structures lack in other cities. Bernadette Ma, in the Miami issue of CLOG, points out:

“The hidden goal has been to beautify a building in order to materialize the profitable commodity of parking.”

Likewise, from an execution standpoint, the issue pointed out that the “dimensions of the car itself are defining the size of projects in this city.”


Perez Art Museum Miami. Herzog & de Meuron, who brought us the parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road, also created the magical “Tropical Modernist” escape that is the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Paired with Patrick Blanc’s vertical column like gardens and a set of hammocks that overlook Biscayne Bay, this is a place to rejuvenate.



Wynwood. There is a lot to see in Wynwood, the former Garment District. Though some might say that it has become too commercial for its artistic roots, there is still a lot that I found interesting. The Wynwood Arts Building (TWAB) is covered in black and white stripes and is home to some of the most creative brands and companies.
El Autobus is a creative agency that does a little of everything (really well).
Del Toro Shoe Company, also with a branch in TWAB, is an innovative brand that became en vouge with their Italian smoking loafers that are patterned and influenced street culture. They are rad and it makes sense that they would outpost in Wynwood.





Thanks to AC Hotel Miami Beach for hosting us while we explored your new home!

See more of Liz Gardner’s work here.

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