Miami Beach's New World Center is already proving a popular place for events other than classical music concerts and outdoor wallcasts. Wednesday night, the new building hosted Travel + Leisure's 2011 Design Awards, honoring 16 winners and a Design Champion.
Guests were checked in on iPads by people wearing white backpacks (which was confusing until we remembered that "urban mobility backpacks" by Puma and iPads were among the night's winners).
Miami-based companies, landmarks or legends got several shout-outs at the event.
The new Herzog & de Meuron-designed 11 11 Lincoln Road complex on South Beach, best known for its parking garage-slash-wedding hall-slash-front page New York Times story, was named "best mixed-use venue." The development also includes shops, restaurants and residential space.
Norwegian Cruise Line nabbed the "Best Transportation" award for 128 studio staterooms aboard the Norwegian Epic, which launched last summer in Miami. Designed by Priestmangoode, the studios (designed by the magazine as "crisp but cozy") are meant for solo travelers.
This year's design champion was Mitchell "Micky" Wolfson Jr., art collector and founder of the Wolfsonian-FIU museum in Miami Beach. Travel + Leisure Editor Nancy Novogrod referred to Wolfson as as "a Miami legend."
He joked that he was chosen in part because Novogrod felt guilty for not hiring him at the magazine, despite many years of begging.
As he accepted the award, Wolfson said his interest in design is driven by curiosity about why people make things.
"The first thing that attracted me to design was wonder," he said.
Another winner? The host venue, which Travel + Leisure Editor Nancy Novogrod called "a contender for our 2012 design awards for sure."
See the full list of winners here.