Cult Gaia Miami: A Fusion of Art and Architecture by Sugarhouse Design

Elevating Design to New Heights

By Clay Imports

(Featured image taken from the Cult Gaia Instagram feed)

At Clay Imports, we strongly believe that successful design occurs when form and function work in perfect harmony. As such, we love collaborating with designers who share the same passion for their work and customers who display love and authenticity in all their creative work. Clay Imports proudly played an important role in the design of Cult Gaia's new flagship store in Miami, as envisioned by Sugarhouse Design, by providing our handcrafted terracotta pavers. In this blog post interview, we delve into how these elements integrate into the store's aesthetic, the architectural design and reflecting the ethereal essence of the Greek goddess of earth.

About Sugarhouse Design

Sugarhouse Design is a full-scale New York City-based architecture and interior design firm founded in 2016 by husband-and-wife architecture team Jess and Jonathan Nahon.

Their mission is to elevate the design of their projects by helping their customers manifest and express their vision in the most creative ways possible. Before going to the drawing room, Jess and Jonathan begin each project with an exhaustive investigation and interview with their clients to find their point of view and objectives: “Our concept phase provides the foundation that all details and decisions are derived from as we begin the application of design. It ensures that it creates a genuine emotional connection.

The conceptual phase is the most important step in the process, because it will help create not only a space, but rather a design that speaks their customers' mind: “We begin building a narrative. We study the context and culture around a space and what historical influences have driven past references. This process guides the space planning, it guides the color scheme and helps to define materiality.


It is important to pick up the subtexts of our client’s words as most do not have the vocabulary to define it or they have trouble describing the feelings they have when spending time in a well designed space.

Creating the Cult Gaia Miami Store

This professionalism and attention to detail is one of the principal factors that keep their customers coming back to them. One of these customers is Cult Gaia; named after the Greek goddess of earth, Cult Gaia is not only known for their clothing trends, but also known for its beautiful and cohesive store designs. Their clothing stores are among the most beautiful and thematically cohesive in the world, as seen in Cult Gaia’s New York Store. Jess and Jonathan's work has played a significant role in achieving this aesthetic.

When a new store was in the works in Miami, Cult Gaia’s founder Jasmin Larian Hekmat knew she wanted to work with Sugarhouse. Jess and Jonathan embraced this challenge, inspired by her passion for beautiful things and willingness to experiment: “Jasmin Larian’s directive to our team was the word ‘home’. She wanted the space to feel personal and intimate. Design is so personal and subjective to different audiences, but there are similarities in the comfort people feel when they return home.

This nostalgic and familiar vibe was also an exciting challenge for the designers, given their background in hospitality design, but also because of Jasmin's willingness to experiment with the concept: “We are constantly inspired by her passion for beautiful things and inherent mantra to go against the grain. She provides other creatives space to bring their talents and ideas to the table and explores every avenue in earnest with them. Then, at the end of the phase, she is able to edit and is strongly decisive to realize her vision. Editing is a tool not everyone is prepared to practice.


We do not know of any retail brands that were willing to break from the formula and allow us to experiment. One example of how we did this is the use and application of warm, theatrical lighting: artificially and naturally. This simple alteration psychologically changes how you feel, look and interact with the merchandise and space.

The ceramic mural at the Cult Gaia Miami Store: A Visual Masterpiece

As expert handmade tile makers, we always enjoy seeing this material stand out in all types of designs. So, when we heard that the facade for the new Cult Gaia store would feature ceramics and tiles, we were thrilled to see the result: a gorgeous 1800-piece, hand-painted tiled mural that is nothing short of eye-catching and breathtaking.


The mural depicts characters and endless stories and endings within it. There are key features or ‘characters’ that are woven within the interiors including the sun and tree of life. It leaves a lasting impression on you.

Based in Cape Town, artist Michael Chandler drew inspiration from Rousseau's "The Dream" and the beautiful stylised floral motifs found on the exquisite 18th-century textiles that often stayed in the South African capital in their journey from Europe to Asia to create this beautiful mural.

This fantastic mural is a living proof of how a well prepared investigation can pay off to bring an outstanding result: “We drew inspiration from Jasmin’s Persian heritage, Miami’s rich architectural typologies, as well as vernacular spatial and materiality references closely related to home building. There is no material more authentic than terracotta tiles and we knew from the beginning that we wanted to showcase it within the space.

Cult Gaia Miami Interior Design: Earth-Inspired Elegance

If the outside is incredible, the interior design of the store is just as impressive. The interior consists of three sections that allow natural light to flood the space, thanks to their seven-foot-wide frameless oculus.

The interior is reminiscent of Greek Pantheons, reinforcing Cult Gaia’s belief that everyone is a goddess of earth. And as such, the material choices for these interiors are heavily earth inspired. Enter Clay Imports: “We were originally drawn to Clay Imports because of the hand-made artisan quality of the tiles. The products stand out because each piece is individual and hand-glazed. It brings a level of touch that other brands do not.

How Cult Gaia Miami Interior Design was made
How Cult Gaia Miami Interior Design was made
We selected Clay Imports because of the unique aesthetic quality of the terracotta. We explored many brands, but in the end loved the way that this particular product looked.

The handcrafted Terracotta Pavers featured in this project are one of the most popular choices between designers like Sugarhouse for their versatility and durability, and thematically the perfect representation of Gaia; these pavers are made with nothing but natural terracotta and are a celebration of earth as both a construction and artistic expression material.

Before ordering yours, we highly recommend ordering samples before making a final purchase. Handmade products like these pavers exhibit natural variations, which are inherent traits of natural materials like Terracotta. These variations in color, texture and sheen are not defects but rather a natural part of the product and the perfect complement to this Sugarhouse project. 


Innovation as a daily labor

Sugarhouse is one of the most innovative design studios and their constant efforts to be ahead of the wave is one of the reasons we admire their work: “Our studio strives to avoid trends and instead focus on the creation of timeless design. We are seeing the same shift in client’s objectives. They want to stand out and look to showcase authentic products within their homes and spaces.

If you want to know more about their work, you can visit their website or  follow them on  Instagram. If you have the chance, we strongly encourage you to also visit the Cult Gaia Miami store and be blown away by the tile work, inside and out; it is definitely a must for painters, designers and aficionados alike. And remember, if you have any questions or require more information, reach out to us at