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Presentation on theme: "NOMINATION of NASIR & NARGIS KASSAMALI for the 2010 BOB GRAHAM ARCHITECTURAL AWARENESS AWARD Kassamali.1."— Presentation transcript:


2 INTRODUCTION I first met Nargis and Nasir casually, in the late 1970s, in a diminutive lighting store called Luminaire, located in a small storefront on the east end of Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Florida. As a recent graduate from the University of Miami School of Architecture, married and working several jobs to make ends meet, our visits to Luminaire were limited to visual and mental stimulation, with the ever present question of what if, from someone copious in taste, but short on resources, and wondering, if someday, we could ever afford to purchase beautiful objects like these for our home. In 1980, after opening a small architectural practice in a storefront studio in South Miami, Florida, Nasir visited our office with the idea of designing a home for his family. I was not sure if that visit was a result of taking advantage of young, new starving architects with low fees, or if he actually saw talent in our work. I have, since then, come to the conclusion that it was both! In 1982, Nasirs visit to our studio resulted in the setting aside of the design for the Kassamali House and concentrating on a commission to design the Luminaire Showroom, on a site formerly occupied by a movie theatre called the Coral, on the corner of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Aragon Avenue, in the heart of Coral Gables. After the completion of the Luminaire Showroom, the Kassamali House was designed and completed in 1984 and in the year 2000, we completed the design of the Luminaire Corporate Headquarters, in Doral, Florida. All of these three projects have been recognized for design excellence and won multiple AIA Awards at both the local and state levels, and have been published throughout the world extensively over the years, testaments to their design commitment in all they do. Nasir is a tough and demanding client (made tolerable only by his beautiful and loving wife, Nargis), but he has always garnered my respect for his commitment to design excellence and their motto design as a way of life. Nasir and Nargis Kassamali live design. They breathe design. They teach design. Their commitment to the south Florida community, their commitment to the education, not only of future architects and designers, but of the general public, and their commitment to a host of other worthy causes, make them extraordinarily qualified for the Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award. It is my honor and privilege to nominate Nasir and Nargis Kassamali for this honor. Sincerely, Roney J. Mateu, AIA Kassamali

3 Kassamali.3 HISTORY OF LUMINAIRE Luminaire was born as a visionary environment representing the intense appreciation for design by its owners, Nasir and Nargis Kassamali. From Kenya and of Indian ancestry, the Kassamalis immigrated to the United States in 1973, motivated by a powerful desire to influence the environment in which we live by educating and exposing people to good design. With a keen foresight and passion for design, the Kassamalis have made Luminaire a leading messenger for international design in the United States. From the age of 16, I dreamt of having something like a church, where people would come to worship modern design, says Nasir. He first became enamored by the work of visionaries like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen after receiving a gift from his father that would forever change his life, a book on the Bauhaus movement. When good design proved hard to find in Kenya, Nasir designed and produced his own pieces with the help of local craftsmen. The designs he created were pure and minimal, from furniture to fashion to jewelry, and, like all good design, they remain current today. Later caught in the throes of racial and political problems of 1970s East Africa, the Kassamalis left Kenya and began their design journey in the United States. In 1974, selling contemporary products directly to the consumer was unheard of in South Florida; hence, when their first 500-square-foot showroom opened in North Miami Beach in March 1974, they became pioneers in the pursuit of changing lives with good design. Expanding from a small lighting shop into a full-service design resource with four locations in Miami and Chicago, Nasir and Nargis have continued the ongoing realization of their dream throughout the past 35 years. With more than 150 top-tier manufacturers in contemporary European design, including Agape, B&B Italia, Boffi, Cappellini, Established & Sons, Ingo Maurer, Living Divani, Vitra, Paola Lenti and Brix, Luminaire has become well known for tirelessly and consistently premiering the newest and finest in international design. Always challenging the traditional boundaries of design, Luminaire continually increased its locations to accommodate growth and allow for expanded programs throughout the companys 35-year history. In 1984, the Kassamalis built an award-winning flagship store designed by architects Mateu Rizo & Associates in Coral Gables, Florida. In 1989 they added another location in Chicago's River North gallery district. A state-of-the-art corporate headquarters and distribution center was completed in January Designed by the Coral Gables architecture firm of Mateu Carreño Rizo & Partners, the 35,000-square-foot facility consists of a two-story office building that resembles a large glass box and a beautifully designed concrete warehouse.

4 Kassamali.4 BEYOND LUMINAIRE In October 2002, Luminaire Contract opened in the Miami Design District, and since has moved into an expanded space inside the Luminaire Lab. A deviation from the traditional showroom, Luminaire Lab is an investigative playground that encourages visitors to think outside of the box. Luminaire Lab offers only the best solutions to many different challenges in modern and contemporary design, creating environments that affect people's lives. In addition to this carefully curated collection, Luminaire Lab features and hosts an array of differing exhibitions, whether featuring artists and fashion designers, or showcasing individual products that challenge one's sensibilities, Lab's purpose is to enlighten and inspire the minds of its clients. In March 2003, Luminaire opened the Boffi Kitchen and Bath Studio in Coral Gables. A space dedicated to promoting of the concept of essential living, the Boffi Studio redefines the domestic environment by only containing objects that are essential and sensational.

5 Kassamali.5 LUMINAIRE EDUCATION Every year since 1979, Luminaire has spread a love for good design through thought-provoking events and curated exhibitions. Design education has been at the core of the Luminaire philosophy, bringing in guest speakers that have included Marcel Wanders, Piero Lissoni, Philippe Starck, Guilio Cappellini, Richard Sapper, Ron Arad, Amanda Levete, the Bouroullec Brothers, Ingo Maurer and Konstantin Grcic Massimo and Lela Vignelli among others. In addition to sponsoring the Design Report Awards in Milan every year, Luminaire has also hosted the U.S. premiere of work by such notable designers as Massimo and Lella Vignelli, Herbert Ohl, Paolo Piva, Antonio Citterio, Philippe Starck, Arne Quinze, and Jasper Morrison. In the vibrant spirit of experimentation and public education, Luminaire is continuing to push the boundaries of design by creating temporary, or pop up, environments which exist not only to increase exposure to good design, but to provoke thought and offer possibilities. Together with some of the most influential pioneers and culturally sound institutions in Miami, Luminaire X has created an experimental neighborhood within a neighborhood, wherever it may be. Luminaire X offers new surprises for visitors from one week to the next. Regular events, like film screenings, discussion groups, and book signings, will intellectually stimulate visitors, while bringing people from all over to share stories and connect with one another.

6 Kassamali.6 LUMINAIRE AND PERSONAL CHALLENGES In addition to lectures, lunch and learns, pop-up environments, book signings and showroom displays, Luminaire has also invited designers and architects to collaborate in philanthropic exhibitions to both educate people about good, contemporary design while serving the community at large. The Love series is just one of these efforts. It began in 1996, prompted by Nargis 12-year struggle with 5 different types of cancer. I consider myself extremely lucky to have a reset button, says Nargis. I have the chance to change and do something about living instead of just existing. I am grateful for that. Not everyone gets that chance. Allowing others the chance to survive cancer is therefore a mission that lies close to the Kassamalis hearts. By partnering with designers, architects and artists to utilize innovative design in the quest for finding a cure for cancer, Nasir and Nargis began the Love series in Puppylove and Paperlove have been two exhibitions of one-of-a-kind work by renowned creatives, whose pieces were then auctioned at the Luminaire Lab showroom to raise money for cancer research. During the past 35 years, Luminaire has proven to be leader in design, emphasizing that design is not simply a product, but a philosophy and an experience that changes how one views the world and moves through it. Good design, like good architecture, must communicate silently and stand the test of time, says Nasir. And like good design itself, Luminaire is constantly evolving and re-defining itself, always maintaining a leadership role in bringing the best designs from around the world to the American public and making good design part of many lives.

7 Kassamali.7 COMMITMENT TO ARCHITECTURE Design and architecture are each others ally, both conceived to enhance how one experiences the space that surrounds them. It only makes sense that a structure that houses the most forward-thinking pieces of modern and contemporary design should itself be a notable monument to pure, minimal, and eye-pleasing functionality. For this reason, Luminaire is dedicated to creating residential, showroom, studio, and corporate environments that change how people think and enhance how they live.

8 Kassamali.8 KASSAMALI HOUSE Awards Design Excellence FA/AIA 1990 Award of Merit Miami Chapter AIA 1991

9 Kassamali.9 LUMINAIRE SHOWROOM Awards Design Excellence FA/AIA 1984 Design Excellence Miami Chapter AIA 1984 Test of Time 10 Years Award FA/AIA 1996 Test of Time 25 Years Award Miami Chapter AIA 2008

10 Kassamali.10 LUMINAIRE CORPORATE Awards Design Excellence FA/AIA 2001 Design Excellence Miami Chapter AIA 2001

11 Kassamali.11 COMMITMENT TO ARCHITECTURE EDUCATION Luminaire X February 7-14, 2009 We developed y-arc to expose the extraordinary talent of budding architects that will shape the future of our city. As both an exhibition and a forum, y-arc presented over thirty architecture projects in the form of 2D drawings and 3D constructs from the Studio of Professor Mario F. Ortega, School of Architecture / Miami Dade College that were exhibited at Luminaire X. The models were defined by a knowledge of tangible architectural principles and emotions of passion and test the limits of spatial definition and emphasize the range and richness of the young architects ability to formulate space. Participate in the beginning of something incredible– y-arc: collaborate, connect, and communicate. (If it were not for y-arc, there would not have been any public exposure of the incredible student work.) Sponsor and past juror for the Design Report Award Salone Satellite, Milan, Italy This award, presented by Design Report Magazine, is dependent on the help of its sponsors in order for such a prize to be continually built on and for such a significant amount of money ( Euros) as first prize to be made possible. For the past ten years Luminaire has been a sponsor for the Design Report Award, which is presented at the Salone Satellite in Milan, Italy, a forum for up and coming designers that was established by Marva Griffin in 1998.

12 Kassamali.12 LUMINAIRE COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY OLPC During Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach 2007, Luminaire, Design Miami, and Fuseproject were proud to present a charity auction in aid of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). The brainchild of Nicholas Negroponte, OLPCs mission is to provide a means for learning, self-expression, and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education. By giving children their very own connected XO laptop, OLPC is giving them a window to the outside world, access to vast amounts of information, a way to connect with each other, and a springboard into their future. And they also help these countries develop an essential resourceeducated, empowered children. Much in the same way that the XO laptop invites children to explore, experiment and express themselves, Luminaire, Design Miami, and Fuseproject invited seven prominent contemporary visual artists to do the same. Artists for OLPC included David Altmejd, John Baldessari, Olafulr Eliasson, CatherineOpie, Jorge Pardo, Ugo Rondinone, Cindy Sherman, and Richard Tuttle. All proceeds benefited One Laptop Per Child. The Love series began two years ago as the brainchild of Luminaire founders Nasir and Nargis Kassamali. Motivated by Nargis Kassamalis five-time bout with cancer, they decided that it was time to reach out to the design community and ask for their help to raise funds for the UM Sylvesters innovative cancer research center. The Kassamalis continue to work tirelessly and look forward to again partnering with designers, architects and artists utilizing innovative design in the quest of finding a cure for cancer.

13 Kassamali.13 LUMINAIRE COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY Puppylove In 2006 Luminaire hosted PUPPYLOVE during Art Basel Miami Beach. We invited over 35 of the worlds most famed designers, artists and architects to participate in this extraordinary international event. A 3D plastic puppy was provided to each of the participants as a blank canvas. These amazingly inspired puppies were auctioned, raising $450,000 to fund the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the foremost cancer research facilities. Paperlove In 2008 Luminaire continued its unending quest of finding a cure for cancer and will be hosting PAPERLOVE. We will auction one-of-a-kind pieces of art with the main medium of paper by world-renowned designers, architects and artists. Just think about how amazing paper really is. You can write, draw, paint and print on it; you can cut and fold it; you can mold it. Whether made from silk or bamboo or mulberry bark, it has throughout time inspired great and lasting art. In some cultures, primarily in the East, paper has long been recognized as a highly precious and valued material. In the West, however, paper is often thought of as a disposable commodity, not intended to last much longer than todays newspaper. Luminaire feels it is time that we took stock, and look at paper anew. Uniting for the single cause of conquering cancer through art and design, all proceeds from the auction will again fund the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. We look forward to making a significant contribution toward finding a cure.

14 Kassamali.14 LUMINAIRE AWARDS AND RECOGNITION Wolfsonian Museum / Florida International University Award in Honor of Florence Knoll Bassett (2007) In 2007 The Woflsonian Museum/FIU honored Nargis and Nasir Kassamali, Florence 'Shu' Knoll Bassett, Dan Paul, Michael Graves, and Tupperware Brands Corporation for their outstanding contributions to design and design education. Those honored have a strong connection to Florida, with local histories dating back more than a quarter century. Nasir and Nargis have passed on their appreciation and commitment to education through information programs with the world's leading designers. For the past three decades, they have supported pure and minimal designs, from furniture to fashion to jewelry. The 'Florida Design Legends' were honored at a gala with sit-down dinner at the Bacardi corporate headquarters. Nasir Kassamali has received several awards and is a frequent member of design juries, including those for Metropolis, ID Magazine and Design Report. In addition, he has been named to Metropolitan Home's "Design 100" as one of the most important design leaders worldwide, and has been recognized by Intramuros, Metropolis, Abitare, Interni, Interiors, Miami Herald and the AIGA. Altagamma, an association of leading Italian companies, invited Luminaire represent the design industry on this international council of 20 high profile companies.

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