Golf is a slightly different experience on every course, with a location’s climate and landscape both contributing to site-specific putting conditions. To hear L.A. design firm 22RE founder Dean Levin tell it, retail design is at its best when it conveys a similarly distinct sense of setting. Just look to Levin’s latest undertaking, Malbon Golf Miami.

An exterior nighttime view of Malbon Golf Miami, looking in through the windows to a pastel green store with stainless steel shelving and a plant in the corner.

After documenting his house reno on Instagram during the pandemic, Levin (who studied architecture in school, but had previously been working primarily as an artist) received a string of word-of-mouth commissions from friends of friends who liked his style. Before he knew it, a design firm was born. One of 22RE’s early projects came from the founders of lifestyle brand Malbon Golf, who hired Levin to design their Carmel by the Sea shop, quickly followed by subsequent storefronts in New York and now, Miami. Each boutique has its own identity, with the most recent outpost a considered reflection of Florida vernacular. And yet 22RE also uses the shop’s design to meditate on something more universal: the spiritual appeal of golf itself.

The centre of Malbon Golf Miami designed by 22RE, featuring four stuccoed pastel green columns. An aluminum ring hangs in the middle with the store's name written out in cursive neon.
Looking to the stainless steel shelving built into the stuccoed pastel green wall niches at Malbon Golf Miami designed by 22RE.

Indeed, Levin describes Malbon’s Miami storefront as a kind of holy space — or at least, as holy a space as you can create while still leaving room to display bucket hats and windbreakers. “People golf because they want to find their flow state,” he says. “I believe golf is so successful in today’s world because it takes you away from everything else you have to deal with in life. And the idea was to make a space that also gave that feeling.” To convey the appropriate spirit of transcendence, floor tiles manufactured in Mexico City are arranged in a sunburst pattern that radiates out like a meditative exhale.

Granted, there are a few corporate touches worked in, too: Malbon’s “M” logo is inlaid into the centre of the pattern, right below a suspended stainless steel ring that spells out the company’s name in cursive neon. “It’s our elegant way of doing signage,” says Levin. 

A custom stainless steel bench modelled after a church pew sits on a floor tiled in a sunburst pattern at Malbon Golf Miami designed by 22RE.

But back to the spiritual realm. The four columns at the heart of the store further heighten the project’s temple-like nature. “When you walk into a lot of retail stores now, they tend to be just these really linear rows of racks and shelving,” Levin says. “We wanted more of a Palladian geometry, using the central core to offer viewpoints or meditations on each shelving unit.” Sure enough, stainless steel benches that take after church pews are positioned to face wall niches that function almost like shrines, with strip lighting illuminating products displayed on matching stainless steel shelving.

Looking to the stainless steel shelving built into the stuccoed pastel green wall niches at Malbon Golf Miami designed by 22RE.

In contrast to these smooth, shiny elements (which also include an aluminum grid drop ceiling), the rest of the store is coated in textural green stucco, used here as a stand-in for coral rock. “When you walk through South Beach, you see it on all the old art deco buildings,” says Levin. “It’s really specific to southern Florida, which makes it feel very special, and I got taken aback by how beautiful it is. But coral rock is not a material that’s easily accessible today,” he says. “So we came up with this as a nod.” The material marks a big departure from Malbon’s other locations. “In the Carmel store, the shelves are made out of cedar — which is representative of the cypress trees in Carmel. But we really didn’t want to use wood in Miami. Wood doesn’t really like a warm, humid environment.”

A closeup of the stuccoed pastel green walls at Malbon Golf Miami designed by 22RE and the aluminum grid drop ceiling.

The project’s green tint is another local touch, inspired by the aqua colour found everywhere from the Miami Dolphins’ logo to the pastel-hued hotels that line Ocean Drive. “There’s a green that everyone knows Miami for, but we wanted to make ours a little bit specific,” says Levin. “We messed with different paints, so there’s more yellow in our hue compared to the blue-green that you normally see.”

A custom stainless steel door handle modelled after a pebble at Malbon Golf Miami designed by 22RE.

Even with its sense of individuality, the shop still maintains a sense of connection to the rest of Malbon’s stores. A door knob fabricated in stainless steel is shaped the same as another handle in the Carmel Shop that is fabricated in travertine. Inspired by a stone found on Pebble Beach, the custom element has become something of a calling card for Malbon.

And for all the project’s ethereal appeal, Levin still recognizes that he can’t beat the meditative power of an actual game of golf. With that in mind, a putting green is currently under construction in the back room.

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