They May Debate Art, But They Know How to Settle

Meet Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, of Miami and New York City, in their recently expanded NYC tree-level Central Park duplex, which he purchased 17 years before they got married. Why the expansion? To make room for her kids and his after they got married, and to make more room for their collectible art and furniture, arranged in an otherwise sparse interior to showcase the pieces.

She calls him “Supreme Commander”. After all, she placated with him a full 11-day camping trip inside the Grand Canyon in very hot weather, when just two days would have been enough for her. He claims he makes compromises, too, and he points out he agreed after much debate to remove a David Hammons assemblage made of chicken feet, black lace and wire—from out of the master bedroom into the hallway.

In fact, they met in court! But as they quickly settled a lawsuit between them, they fell in love. Does their marriage work? Apparently, yes! Their tastes are not the same, but what they have in common is they both have taste. She likes whimsical, playful, surrealistic art like Louise Bourgeois‘ “Eye Benches” which display sculptured eyeballs on one side and sculptural plus comfortable seating on the other.

And a bronze-gorilla themed fountain integrated with a playground by the Haas Brothers. Jackie wants people to feel happy from and have fun with art. She arranged to have these works installed at the super-regional Aventura Mall in Florida, which she manages along with other properties—along with a 93-foot-tall Carsten Höller slide that customers can enjoy careening on.

Craig Robins founded Design Miami and transformed a rundown Miami neighborhood into the Design District, a shopper’s paradise. He’s fond of conceptual art. He likes Goya and Gaudi and collects Baldessari and Duchamp. He hangs floor-to-ceiling homoerotic paintings by Marlene Dumas, which she could live without.

What they both very much agree upon is to collect modern works that have a relationship to historical work. Robins points out, for example, that the Duchamp anchors the Baldessari.

While it’s true that Soffer likes to retire at 9 pm, while the house is still often filled with family or guests, and Robins might rather be whitewater rafting, they both enjoy their interior décor. Most of their furnishings come through Robins’ Design Miami, including the Maria Pergay Flying Carpet daybed, Martin Szekely coffee table, Marc Newson chairs, Jean Nouvel table, and several Giò Ponti pieces.

If the furnishings aren’t ruined with wine spills, the couple enjoys their dual Miami-New York life, and the expanded Central Park duplex. When it comes to art, furnishings, and décor, this is a couple who knows how to settle their differences.