But her big break came in 1984 with the debut of the emblematic TV series Miami Vice. “Michael Mann (the series’ producer) was a friend from Chicago, and I immediately understood his vision for the city,” says Sam. She designed several apartments for Don Johnson and wife Melanie Griffin in Miami, Colorado and California. Then came fashion! The arrival on South Beach of Gianni Versace, one of the world’s most acclaimed designers, was the push the city needed to go global.
The encounter with Versace was another milestone in Sam’s life and career. After designing his first stores in Miami, Robin was asked to create the brand’s stores in Latin America. “Versace really took a chance on me. I would bring my drawings to his mansion, and we would sit in the courtyard,” remembers Sam with a hint of nostalgia for her late friend, before adding, “they flew me to Paris to see their store in St. Honore and later to Milan to be indoctrinated into the wonderful philosophy of the brand: more is more is more.” Sam created a total of 15 stores for the Versace label.
The turn of the millennia brought new challenges to the talented designer. After the achievements of the 1990’s, when Robin helped bring equilibrium to a socially challenged city, she enlisted the help of Italian designer and businessman Francesco Caracciolo to open a new design label, Robicara. The young company caters to the needs of exclusive clients who embrace what sociologists call “post material values.” These are customers who have all the blessings life has to offer but want something different and unique, a luxury client who does not skimp in prices for the utter luxury and balance of interiors Sam is known for. “What we are trying to do with furniture is difficult because we really want the brand to be luxury. Our products are garnering success locally as well as in New York or London, even Dallas or L.A.,” says Sam, Francesco agrees.
1. Francesco Caracciolo & Sam Robin.
Today, Sam Robin continues to help to shape the new aesthetic fiber of the Magic City. She has worked on some of the most luxurious buildings that are changing the Miami skyline, once again. Among them: 900 Biscayne, the Astor Hotel and the renovations of the iconic Delano hotel, to name a few. When asked about her legacy to the new generations of designers, she said, “I hope I can leave behind spaces that encourage great times, where people can relax and enjoy: in a very simple but very rich setting.” ■