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Meet David Charette and Jay Britto of Britto Charette in Wynwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Charette and  Jay Britto.

David and Jay, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Jay: “My interest in design evolved, really. Music was one of my first passions and essentially opened the door to creativity and the arts for me. At eighteen, when I was struggling with affording college and choosing a major (architecture or interiors), music was always there, pushing me forward. Patterns and rhythms in music just seemed to be echoed in everything around me. That’s when I realized that my calling was actually interiors. I could walk into a space and visualize the textures, colors, and patterns that it needed.”

David: “After numerous trips as a child to the Detroit Institute of Art and after traveling across the United States with my family in the summer, I started to develop a great interest in design. I thought skyscrapers were the coolest things in the world…Still do! Reading late into the night was also very inspiring. My parents would unscrew the fuses to my room so I’d have to put the book down. But the biggest thing was Lego’s. Really. Having a limited amount of them forced me to constantly tear apart one idea to create another. That building and rebuilding led me to pursue bachelor and master degrees in architecture. Then I dreamed of the life I wanted and left the confines of what seemed comfortable to make it happen. The hardest choices/risks hold the biggest dividends.”

Energetic. Hip. Colorful. Diverse. South Florida embodies the essence of Britto Charette. The designers opened their studio doors on NW 26th Street in 2014 and haven’t looked back. Britto and Charette will tell you they are all about looking forward: anticipating trends and creating timeless designs. Situating themselves in the thriving, pulsing heartbeat of Wynwood was a calculated move and the duo says they’ve capitalized on the vibrancy and cultural diversity of their newly adopted community by expanding their sophisticated interior design business to include a new collection of WASI furniture and accessories.

“We consider this the Golden Era of Miami, and we like to believe we’re on the cusp of a cultural upswing here. Everyone in this neighborhood is interested in art and music and fashion. The appreciation for it is palpable,” says Charette. “So as a team we’re challenging ourselves to take full advantage of it. We’re inspired by trailblazers like Hadid, who created buildings and spaces that were ultra modern but timeless. We want to create timeless pieces for the home.”

To achieve that lofty goal, the designers have chosen expert artisans to handcraft every piece of furniture and porcelain they design. “When we designed WASI (from the Quechua word for “home”), we were focused on creating an heirloom-quality collection. It’s important to us that our furniture and accessories be regarded as art for the home. Hearing from our clients that they love the beauty and uniqueness of our pieces is thrilling,” says Britto. Originally introduced at ICFF in 2013, the porcelains that comprise the duo’s nod to the ceramics, jewelry, culture, and tools of the ancient Incas, are designed in Miami and expertly sculpted by Peruvian artisans.

Trade shows have also played a crucial role in the firm’s expansion. “In 2013 we launched a collection of home accessories at the ICFF trade show in New York City. We had a collaboration with Kyle Bunting on rugs, stools, and mirrors so it was a fantastic chance to launch our porcelains alongside those pieces,” says Britto. “And then in 2014 we exhibited in Paris and followed up by showcasing our new line of WASI porcelains (including limited edition pieces) and our Bal Harbour furniture in 2015 and 2016 at Maison&Objet Miami. Those shows resulted in sales and opportunities for 2016 exports to Europe and throughout the Americas.”

“We got to where we are in the design business because we strategically moved to Wynwood/Miami. We wanted a ground-level suite that gave us visibility and we found one here on 26th. Our team is honored to show visitors to Miami how our designs pay tribute to the city’s unique and creative spirit,” says Charette.

Other factors have led to the firm’s success. “We are aggressive with maintenance/development of our website because we believe ‘online’ is where it’s at. HOUZZ has been a great asset for our business and so have podcasts and blog posts and interviews like this one–they’re all key to a boutique business’ success,” says Britto.

“People are incredibly busy so using social media resonates with their busy lifestyles. But the biggest factor of our success has been hard work and surrounding ourselves with a great team,” says Charette.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Clearly, the last recession was a struggle for everyone and we had to look at our business model and understand profit, loss, and risk.

Opening a business in 2010, at the tail end of the recession (even though we didn’t know it at the time), made us pretty nervous. But we moved forward in spite of our worries because we knew we had great designs and we were optimistic that the economy would turn around.

Building a team also poses some challenges–especially when your business expands and you’re trying to find just the right number of team members. Also, when we moved to Wynwood we moved our home, our business, and expanded the team, all simultaneously.

BRITTO CHARETTE – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are most proud of the fact that we continue to improve, evolve, and become more sophisticated in our designs. Our work is dynamic.

We continue to create sophisticated solutions for people who want to live in South Florida, but our designs also extend to hospitality, commercial, branding, and other applications. We continue to build the firm and we are trying to deliberately avoid growing pains–to grow the size of the team in a manageable way.

Our design fee is highly competitive. We are selective about projects we take on and the minimum investment that we require. We aren’t being elitist, but we’re really proud of what we do and we are dedicated to creating the best designs so we have to have a realistic number.

Our team is great at 3D modeling, renderings, and photo-realistic drawings. And we really pride ourselves on listening to feedback and modifying designs based on the comments we receive from our clients. We want our clients to tell us what they think and to know that we’ll respond.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
David: Success for me has changed over time. After school, I would have said it was being able to travel and see the world and not have to stay in a youth hostel. I believe being able to see and view the world is one of the biggest luxuries and forms of success.

David: Success isn’t just financial. For me there is pride in executing and occupying spaces. There’s a long history of paper architecture designed but never built. I’m proud of the fact that our designs are built and come to fruition. In architecture, the ratio of design-to-build is quite low. So our success rate is high to completion of projects so that’s a “success” that we’re really proud of.

Jay: Recognition from clients and peers in the industry. Receiving awards like Best of Year design award and Best of Houzz have really helped shape and share our success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Alexia Fodere

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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