Venturing Out With Veronica H. Speck of VHS Ventures
Although originally from San Diego and currently based in New York City, Veronica H. Speck has long been inspired by Miami, from the architecture and design of the Art Deco district to the plethora of emerging Latin American fashion talent. The eponymous communications consultancy, VHS Ventures, is a full scale international communications consultancy and strategic advisory agency focusing on art, architecture, design, luxury fashion, and hospitality. In addition to public relations, marketing, and event production, VHS Ventures also connects luxury brands to retailers and artists and designers to galleries, showrooms, and art and design fairs.
Miami-based clients include Mr. C Hotels and Residences by Cipriani, Grupo ARCA marble, Collecto, Maison d’Etto, and interior designers including Hino Studio and Bea Pernia of Bea Interiors Design. Many clients and partners have hosted events and activations during Design Miami, Art Basel, Swim Week, Formula 1, and The Beach Polo World Cup, including Bernardaud, Tuleste Factory, JO-HS Gallery, The Future Perfect, Flabelus, and more.
Today, the Founder shares her favorite design destinations in Miami and entertaining advice.
Tell us about your first experience visiting Miami?
It was in 2015, and at the time, I was the Public Relations Director for the French luxury home decor and design brand Bernardaud. We collaborated on a special porcelain tabletop collection with Studio Job for the new Faena Hotel and Los Fuegos restaurant by Chef Frances Mallmann. The star-studded opening dinner included Leonardo Dicaprio, Toby Macguire, Adrian Brody, Baz Luhrmann, and more. The steak Chef Mallman prepared was Argentine asado-style, barbecued on the beach, and remains one of the best I have ever had!
There are many! Hiyakawa for Japanese omakase. The gorgeous undulating wooden interiors were designed by my client, award-winning interior and collectible furniture designer Bea Pernia of Bea Interiors Design. I might be biased as I represent Cipriani, but the view from Bellini restaurant terrace at the rooftop of Mr. C Hotel in Coconut Grove overlooking Biscayne Bay at sunset is quite spectacular. Order the signature Bellini cocktail, served with aperetivo-style bites of parmesan and green olives, followed by the lobster salad, lasagna, and of course the homemade gelato whipped à la minute. Some other favorites include Mandolin Aegean or Michael’s for a Design District power lunch; Uchi or Kyu for sushi; Casa Tua for dinner and dancing in South Beach; The Four Seasons Surf Club restaurant by Thomas Keller for a special occasion; Joe’s Stone Crab; Matador Room by Jean-Georges in The Edition; Boulud Sud by Daniel Boulud; New York transplants Carbone, Balthazar, Sadelle’s, Milos, or Lucali; La Natural for wood-fired pizza; Panther Coffee, Sapore di Mare, Los Félix, and Krüs Wine Bar in Coconut Grove, and many more!
Where do you like to stay?
I am often visiting Miami for work so I am lucky enough to stay at my client Mr. C Hotel by Cipriani in the Coconut Grove neighborhood. The property was designed by Arquitectonica with interiors by Martin Brudnizki and is designed to resemble a yacht so it truly feels like an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of South Beach. I also enlisted designer Hagit Pincovici to create a custom vitrine to display retail items, including the property’s signature scented candle by Lola James Harper, so walking in the lobby truly feels like a home away from home! Il Giardino is perfect for special events. Recent ones have included a LoveShack Fancy dinner, Cara Cara lunch, Volver x Collecto floral arranging workshop, a Latin American Fashion Summit pop-up shop, and more. Don’t miss an endospheres massage or facial treatment by Debbie Castaneda at BēAtala Spa. If I am in town for Design Miami or Art Basel, I like to stay closer to the convention center at The Edition, Faena, or Four Seasons Surf Club.
Art and Design destinations?
I love to visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Fashion designer and client Alexia María shot her SS ‘23 campaign there, and it was the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous new collection. I am endlessly inspired by the Art Deco movement so running or biking past the colorful pastel buildings in South Beach is always a must, as is a visit to The Wolfsonian-Florida International University museum. During Art Basel, I like to view the new exhibitions on display at the Bass Museum, ICA, Rubell Collection, de la Cruz Collection, Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, and the Pérez Museum. The Design District is home to many of my interior design client showrooms. Favorite destinations include: Hino Studio, Bea Interiors Design, Storia, Art + Loom, Grupo Arca, and Avenue Road collectible design gallery in South Beach.
Places to Shop and favorite designers at the moment?
In my opinion, the best time for shopping is during the Latin American Fashion Summit when Latin brands take over the city and host pop-up shop events. It is a great opportunity to be introduced to new talent. Last year, Johanna Ortiz, Lauren Santo Domingo, and Alexandre Birman hosted panel discussions, and I discovered emerging brands including By Efrain Mogollon, Susana Vega, Andrea Almeida, Leal Daccaret, Port de Bras, and many more. I also love to visit Merrick Park mall to check out Boy Meets Girl for children’s clothes and P de Palma, which carries favorites like Monica Sordo, Sandra Weil, Waimari, and Juan de Dios. Boho Hunter also curates and carries Latin American fashion brands like Eugenia Fernandez and Bahía María. In Coral Gables, the Silvia Tcherrassi boutique is full of the latest collection of colorful Colombian dresses, perfect for Miami or taking on a tropical vacation. In South Beach, the original Webster and Curio at Faena Bazaar never disappoint. I also like to browse Mrs. Mandolin boutique after lunch at Mandolin Aegean bistro. In Coconut Grove, the Agua Bendita boutique and The Bazaar Project, adjacent to Mr. C Hotel, curated with global brands by Turkish owner Yeliz Titiz, is an absolute must– I especially love their emerald jewelry. I also love the Four Seasons Surf Club boutique, and, of course, my client Assouline’s new boutique at Bal Harbour.
Tell us about your interest in tabletop. Any entertaining tips?
At home in New York, I like to abide by Kant’s rule, “The number of guests at dinner should not be less than the Graces nor exceed those of the Muses” – i.e. begin with three and stop at nine. However, when in Miami, I am often hosting larger client events, especially during the annual Design Miami and Art Basel fair, Latin American Fashion Summit, Formula 1, and Swim Week. My interest in tabletop design and decor began with my role as PR Director at Bernardaud back in 2014 where I often designed and promoted seasonal tablescapes, custom collections with Michelin-Starred Chefs like Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert, and objets d’art with Jeff Koons, Vik Muniz, Marina Abramovic, Julian Schnabel, the Campana Brothers, and more– many of which were displayed during Art Basel. Fast forward to founding VHS Ventures in 2020, and I now represent and partner with luxury home decor brands like Aina Kari candles made of Murano glass, Studio Lél pietra dura collectible design pieces, Arca marble’s home line, and Collecto which specializes in curated homeware and a bespoke wedding registry service, providing access to the world's finest designers, including Johanna Ortiz home, L’Objet, Ginori 1735, and Saint Louis. Some recent favorite entertaining events that come to mind include a Collecto x Volver floral arranging workshop hosted at Il Giardino in Mr. C Hotel.
Favorite Art Basel Events?
Goodness, there have been many! In 2021, ARCA marble hosted an exhibition and event at their Esrawe-Studio designed marble showroom in Wynwood. We partnered with Mexico City’s leading art gallery, OMR, and design gallery, MASA, to create a collection of limited-edition collectible designs made of marble by a roster of talent including Gabriel Rico, Jorge Méndez Blake, Adeline de Monseignat, Mario Garcia Torres, Ewe Studio, and Brian Thoreen. Chef Gabriela Cámara, who I had worked with at The Future Perfect in Los Angeles previously and who owns one of my favorite restaurants in Mexico City (Contramar), catered the event and personally served her signature tuna tostadas to guests, which included Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo, Joe Jonas, Pharrell Williams, artist JR, and many more. ARCA also collaborated with interior designer Bea Pernia to present her first furniture collection “Atus” at Design Miami. Last year in 2022, clients Mr. C Hotel by Cipriani and Mexico City-based gallery JO-HS, collaborated to present an “A Surrealist Stay” exhibition and dinner celebrating emerging talent included Ramiro Gonzalez, Demit Omphroy, and Celeste.