A Temple-Inspired Flagship Store Clad in Marble and Sandstone

Inside Cult Gaia Miami by Sugarhouse.

Anyone with an eye toward the new and noteworthy of the fashion world has seen Cult Gaia’s Ark bag, a stylish rounded clutch made entirely from bamboo that’s been spotted on the arms of celebrities including Jessica Alba, Emma Stone, and Beyoncé. What started with flower crowns and headpieces when founder Jasmin Larian Hekmat was fresh out of fashion school in 2011 has ballooned into global lifestyle brand with several new stores popping up in the last few years. The new Cult Gaia Miami flagship, the city’s first permanent location, was a 1,500-square-foot opportunity to get back to Larian Hekmat’s roots and the brand’s driving belief that everyone is a goddess of the Earth. “In designing the Miami store, I endeavoured to honour our rich heritage in a manner that’s both personal and profound,” the founder says.



Opened in March and designed by New York design firm Sugarhouse, the newest Cult Gaia, located in Miami’s Design District, is inspired by temple architecture and Larian Hekmat’s Persian heritage. The space draws on elements that are unexpected in a retail setting and plays with scale despite the relatively compact square footage, using soaring domes and oculi, interiors clad in Bianco Avorio limestone and Bianco Santa Caterina travertine, and unique art with personal touches inside and out.

“The narrative of Cult Gaia’s evolution, from the inception of crafting flower crowns to the establishment of our Miami store, is a testament to the journey of creativity and passion,” Larian Hekmat explains. “This particular location stands out for its distinct identity and the depth of connection it embodies to our foundational ethos. It’s a space where the essence of our roots and the inspiration from the Garden of Eden are not just represented but vividly come to life.”



Central to Sugarhouse’s practice, which was founded by husband-wife duo Jess and Jonathan Nahon in 2016, is a holistic approach to design that takes into account architecture, interiors, and landscape when planning a project. At Cult Gaia Miami, the designers took as much care with the exterior as they did with the interior. The steep slope of the A-frame structure stands out among the flat tops of most of Miami Design District’s buildings, instead taking cues from the local casitas to create a warm and welcoming silhouette.

A blue-and-white hand-painted ceramic Tree of Life mural by South African artist Michael Chandler adorns the façade, composed of 1,800 pieces that depict a Garden of Eden scene. Inspired by Henri Rousseau’s The Dream, 18th-century Indian textiles, and the lapis lazuli hues of Persian mosques, the expansive mural features a whirl of peacocks, vegetation, tree branches, nymphs wearing flower crowns, and pomegranates like the ones Larian Hekmat’s grandfather grew. The words “May all the doors of the world always be open to you” are scrawled in looping letters above the arched central doorway, honouring the mantra Larian Hekmat’s grandmothers would repeat to her throughout her childhood.




Inside are three main areas (with a fourth hidden in the corner) where two domed rooms with round oculi at their centre are connected by central dressing rooms made from chiselled sandstone blocks. Beneath the first, an abstract 12-foot concrete sculpture of a nude woman by Larian Hekmat’s mother, Angela Larian, reaches toward the light. Larian Hekmat notes that the piece not only honours her mother’s “unwavering support and inspiration but also stands as a beacon of matriarchy and womanhood, which continually fuels the creative essence of Cult Gaia.”

In the second room, a towering banyan tree seems to spring from the soft green curves of the 19-foot Brandi Howe sofa. Behind a brass passage door on the right, a matcha bar created in collaboration with Chit Chat L.A. serves drinks to shoppers.



Against the perimeter of both rooms are unlacquered brass rods for clothing, which hang from backlit wall panels, that mimic Cult Gaia jewellery and custom biomorphic mirrors made by New Vernacular, a design and fabrication studio that combines tech and traditional craftsmanship. The blocks of sandstone that curve around the fitting room, inspired by rock-cut cave temples, create alcoves that are lit up to display accessories.

An intimate reflection of cross-cultural values and craftmanship, the Cult Gaia Miami location is “more than a retail space” Larian Hekmat says. “It’s a deeply personal homage to my roots, family, and the enduring inspirations that shape our brand. It’s a manifestation of Cult Gaia’s journey from simple beginnings to a symbol of beauty, strength, and resilience, reflecting the very soul of our brand and its aspirations.”

Photography by Kris Tamburello.