Ambassador of chic

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Seven years ago, when Claudio Faria had just graduated from the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil with a degree in international relations, he watched as many of his classmates entered the world of diplomacy and the public sector. He, on the other hand, had a different plan. “My interest was always in the private sector,” said Faria. “I wanted to understand why we had so many great companies and brands in Brazil that no one outside of our country knew about.”

After spending his college years searching for answers— “It has to do with the fact that Brazil is a large country and most businesses do well just focusing on our domestic market,”—Faria went on a mission to change that. In 2007, he opened the first international outpost of Ornare, Brazil’s ultra high-end kitchen cabinet and closet maker, in Miami’s Design District. The store, which had been operating in Brazil since 1986, was the perfect emissary for his homeland’s chic aesthetic and workmanship, he said, “and Miami, with its combination of sophisticated locals and an international crowd, was the perfect place.”

Known for its elegant blend of the highly engineered with the artistically handmade (“A door that slides perfectly and precisely can be topped, for example, with hand-stitched leather,” Faria said), Ornare has become a go-to source for local designers and celebrities. It was Ornare that designed the sumptuous closets in the Mansions of Acqualina, one of last year’s most luxurious developments; and it was Ornare that recently helped celebrity TV chef Ingrid Hoffman remodel her Brickell Avenue home’s kitchen in the sky. “We cater to a clientele who understands what design is, but who is also looking for practical functionality,” Faria says. “We try to understand each person’s needs and use that to create a design specifically for them.”

Faria, who’s busy working on the next Ornare opening, later this year in Dallas, TX, took time out to offer INDULGE a personal tour of his Miami showroom. It turns out he makes a fine ambassador after all. —Betty Cortina-Weiss

Ornare, 3930 NE Second Avenue, Miami; 305-438-0260.

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