These are so many factors that go into creating a Region’s unique design style. From climate to culture, availability of materials to geography, all of these elements and more come together to define a sense of place. For Southwest Florida, the original design influences can still be seen in our architecture, the seamless blend between indoors and out, and the vibrant colors that sparkle in the coastal sun. Distinctly Floridian, yet in a world all its own. Informed by history, yet timeless in its elegance and majesty. As a designer, Dwayne Bergmann appreciates every detail and finds inspiration in the design identity of his home base in Fort Myers and new home away from home in Naples.
Like most of Florida for most of history, Fort Myers was an isolated, rugged area, home to the Seminole Tribes. In the early 16th century, Ponce de Leon explored the area along Florida’s Gulf coast that we now call home, later settled by Spanish and Cuban fishing and farming outposts. Gaining in popularity and growing in population over the years, it was at the turn of the 20th century that wealthy “snowbirds” came to the region to seek their fortune in land investments. This melting pot of cultures, native Seminoles, European and Latin American explorers, and the Nation’s elite all contributed to the design style our beloved town embodies to this day. Naples was also carefully planned and strategically marketed to attract tourism as a destination on the new railways and sea commerce. For much of its early history, the city serves as a private winter retreat for a few wealthy families. Following World War II, Naples’ population skyrocketed making it one of the region’s biggest little cities.
The Southwest Florida design style does not fit neatly into a box. The city of Fort Myers was intentionally designed with urban planning, making its charming Downtown such a destination. Two must-see examples of original architecture that has become synonymous with the region’s aesthetic are the historic homes of the city’s most famous residents, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Both designed in the Craftsman style, they are pristine examples of this early style. Whereas Florida’s East Coast is better known for its Spanish and Mediterranean Revival building, there are some beautiful examples in Naples as well, though the vast majority are designed in the more common cottage, Bungalow, or Colonial Revival styles. The bungalow being the most popular truly represented the easy living, harmony with nature lifestyle that attracted visitors and residents alike to the glistening Gulf shores.
The strongest influence on the design styles of Fort Myers and Naples today is the lifestyle. It’s the same reason people from all over the world gravitate to our shores. The DBI team itself comes from every corner of the country, just to enjoy the incredible weather, lush, exotic landscape, and serenity of Gulf-front living. This of course means we Southwest Floridians enjoy blurring the line between indoors and out. We invite plant life, natural materials, and organic textures into our homes and enjoy year-round fireplaces, dining spaces and lounge areas outdoors. As the collective design consciousness turns towards high contrast, luxury finishes, layering of high to low, vintage and new, our cities embrace these modern influences with our own flair.
Dwayne’s approach to regional design is defined by the appreciation of local artisans, incorporating shades of blue to reflect our crystal clear waters, and determination to create homes built for the lifestyles their inhabitants dream of. Sitting just to the North, Dwayne identified Sarasota as having a very strong mid-century modern influence in their design aesthetic. “As a result, we are seeing a growing demand for more modern architectural style dwellings in this market and definitely more modern and minimal interiors,” notes Dwayne. At this moment in our history, DBI is one of the foremost design leaders influencing how modern style will be woven into the SWFL design aesthetic. “30 years from now someone will be writing about the shift in design!” Keeping alive the tradition of Southwest Florida as a lush and luxurious destination for residents and visitors alike, Dwayne brings his eye for quality and exquisite taste to every project in the region he is grateful to call home.
If you want to learn more about Southwest Florida’s history and design influences, check out the sources used for this installment of Your 4 Walls including, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of CommerceEn-site, Edison Ford Winter Estates, and Y H Magazine.
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Dwayne Bergmann Interiors · 12195 Metro Pkwy Ste 1 · Fort Myers, FL 33966-1346 · USA