Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati Talks Design, Miami And Design Miami/

2017 Special Edition - Luminor 1950 Regatta Oracle Team USA 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio - 47mm
2017 Special Edition – Luminor 1950 Regatta Oracle Team USA 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio – 47mm

Photo Credit: Panerai

Panerai, a brand with deep-rooted history dating back to the 1800’s, has been a consistent front-runner in the luxury watch industry, combining its Italian heritage with Swiss technology and nautical-inspired design elements. With a loyal following who’ve even gone so far as to coin a term to identify themselves – Paneristi – the brand has become particularly known for being a leader in innovation. It’s therefore, no surprise that Panerai and its CEO, Angelo Bonati, have partnered with Design Miami/ to present deserving recipients with the Panerai Design Miami Visionary Award.

This year, at the Design Miami/ fair, the coveted award went to New York-based architect Annabelle Selldorf and her team at Selldorf Architects; conceptual American artist Rashid Johnson; charitable organization 14+ Foundation; and Swiss architects Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein of Christ & Gantenbein. Together, the group collaborated to create the Mwabwindo School – one that will offer its students a free education in Zambia, southern Africa, when it opens its doors in 2018. Mr. Bonati and Design Miami/ Chief Creative Officer, Rodman Primack, presented the award to the team, stating, “Not only should we award people for their design work…but also in thinking about how they can use their practice for more than that.”

The Mwabwindo School in Zambia
The Mwabwindo School in Zambia

Photo Credit: Selldorf Architects

Each recipient graciously accepted the award and touched on the importance of the project, as well as the impact it’s had on them personally. Joseph Mizzi, CEO and co-founder of the 14+ Foundation, said, “What’s most important to us about today’s award is the group of volunteer participants and the recognition from Panerai and Design Miami/.”

After the ceremony, which took place in the Design Miami/ theater space, we sat down with Mr. Bonati, who emphasized the significance of partnering with Design Miami/ for such an incredible award for the third year in a row. “The event is important  because it’s something inspired by design. Design is one of the most important elements…for Panerai. It’s what makes us different and a little bit exclusive.”

Angelo Bonati, CEO of Panerai
Angelo Bonati, CEO of Panerai

Photo Credit: The New York Times

He continued to explain the importance of the brand’s presence in Miami. “I love Miami. It has changed so much since I first came here over 20 years ago. It’s growing a lot and our boutique here is one of the most important in the United States.” The two-year old, 2,200 square foot Panerai flagship store, located in the Palm Court area of the Miami Design District, was created by famed architect Patricia Urquiola. The boutique is one of the most prominent and eye-catching in the Palm Court area, with its contemporary light fixtures, mimicking the parts and movements of a complicated watch, the ship-like wall displays, the second floor courtyard, looking down onto Palm Court, and the wall-mounted, Luminor Marina-inspired clock, with luminescent green coloring.

The city of Miami almost seems representative of Panerai – both adapting to the contemporary age and remaining true to their cultural roots – while steadily growing. When asked about the brand’s growth and what fans can expect in the new year, Mr. Bonati kept it simple: “A lot of success. Success covers everything. We will continue with our strategy and produce wonderful watches. That is our mission.”