Each year South Florida’s architecture and design community demonstrates its support for interior architecture education through their annual participation in Festival of the Trees, a fundraising event coordinated by Florida International University’s Interior Architecture Department.
The annual holiday event strives to encourage the advancement and reach of interior design education by providing student scholarships and travel funds for students in FIU’s Interior Architecture Department. Over the past 33 years, the event has raised more than $350,000. Design firms, local distributors, and members of the industry collaborate for months to design and create “trees” they believe fit the criteria of the year’s theme. In keeping with the spirit of the Festival of the Trees, the designs must be representative of the holiday spirit.
Sponsors underwrite designers who design and build unique holiday creations and donate them to the event. The “trees” are then displayed and auctioned at the gala opening. Winning bidders take these extraordinary creations home and get to show them off throughout the year.
This year, designers were tasked with addressing the theme of “The Design Archives: Capturing the Spirit of the Past.” By traveling back through time and trends, designers conjured nostalgic emotions of their favorite by-gone era. Trees at the event were all inspired by memories and styles of the past.
“South Florida has been home to many creative and exceptional designers who have contributed their talents to the continued success of this event,” said Oliver Ionita, Senior Director of Development for FIU CARTA. “This year, we were thrilled to continue to celebrate excellence in design and the creative spirits behind it!” Thirty-eight design teams participated in this year’s event hosted at The Moore Building in the Miami Design District, creating one-of-a-kind “trees” with materials provided by their sponsor.
Judges at the event included Hilda Altimari, Art Director of Dacra Miami Design District; Martin Amado, TV Personality; Massimo Casagrande, Director of Education at Marangoni Miami; Liana Guilarte, Group Publisher for Modern Luxury; and Josh Oberhausen, Founder of Oberhausen Marketing & PR, Designing South Florida and the Miami Hospitality Design Awards.
“It wasn’t easy choosing our favorites for each category as all the trees were truly works of art,” said Josh Oberhausen. “In the end, we all agreed on nine winners we felt stood out, and three honorable mentions we believed deserved recognition as well.”
The winners of the 33rd annual Festival of the Trees include:
Most Elegant: “Altis Forum”
Designer: Moniomi Design
Sponsor: Daltile / Keysgranite
Most Colorful: “Candela”
Sponsor: Wrk Lab
Most Sustainable: “Cross-Cultural Headgear”
Designer: TSAO Design Group
Sponsor: Global Furniture Group
Most Creative: “Layers Through Time”
Designer: G. Alvarez Studio, Inc.
Sponsor: Allsteel | Gunlocke & Compass
Most Illuminating: “Depths of Deco”
Designer: Gresham, Smith, & Partners
Sponsor: Ledconn & Power & Lighting Systems Inc.
Most Progressive: “Respirations”
Designer: FIU RDF Lab
Most Whimsical: “Hold My Memphis”
Sponsor: Shaw Contract Group
Most Thematic: “Games Archiving Games”
Designer: OBM International
Sponsor: OBM International
Most Animated: “It’s All Relative”
Designer: Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, Inc.