From Miami Beach to Downtown Miami, Brickell, Wynwood, Little Havana and most recently Coconut Grove, many of Miami’s neighborhoods have undergone or are undergoing drastic evolutions and are emerging with distinctive identities. These neighborhoods have taken inspiration from their individual surroundings and translated them into design-driven restaurants, bars and hotels.

As part of its ongoing mission to showcase excellence in architecture and elevate public consciousness of great design, the Miami Hospitality Design Awards brought together some of South Florida’s leaders in the hospitality industry for its inaugural panel discussion, Distinctive Hospitality Design in Miami’s Evolving Neighborhoods.

Hosted by the awards founders Oberhausen Marketing & Public Relations, the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association and AIA Miami and in support of IIDA South Florida, the panel took place on Sept. 20 at the Hyatt Centric Brickell and featured Stantec Director of Interiors, Susan LaFleur; The Barlington Group Co-founder, Bill Fuller; and The Genuine Hospitality Group Chef and Owner, Michael Schwartz. Moderated by Indulge Magazine Editor in Chief, Evan Benn, the panelists discussed how neighborhoods and consumer demands are affecting hospitality architecture, design and programming.

“We take into account what speaks to us about the neighborhood and translate it into the architecture and interiors to make each project relatable to its location,” said Susan LaFleur.

“Although the food has to be great, I’ve always said it’s not the one thing that makes a restaurant successful,” said Michael Schwartz. “We want our restaurants to fit with the neighborhood, so we look at where we are, what we’re trying to accomplish and how that plays into the design.”

“Little Havana is a passion project for me because of my Cuban American background,” said Bill Fuller. “We seek out historic properties in Miami to give them a new life, but always wrap the property’s history into what we do to keep the building’s and neighborhood’s authenticity.”

The panel is part of the awards’ program leading up to the second annual Miami Hospitality Design Awards to be held spring 2019. The awards will honor the architects and designers whose hospitality projects have enriched Miami’s built environment. Next year’s awards will include new categories, giving additional designers an opportunity to showcase their work.

Stay tuned for details on the 2019 Miami Hospitality Design Awards by visiting