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From Hollywood to interior design, in Miami the hotel decorated by a very famous director, guess who?
Red velvets, colourful sunshades, deco touches and a golden baby mammoth: where eclecticism and irony meet, they generate the new Futopia
The Faena Hotel in Miami, whose interiors, designed by film director Baz Luhrmann, express an eclectic style mixing The Great Gatsby and South America’s flair for hospitality
Ironical, funny, colourful, and, maybe, a bit ostentatious: it is hard to summarise in a few words the new Faena Hotel in Miami. Its design involved also Baz Luhrmann and his wife, set designer Catherine Martin, as creative consultants. Alain Faena entrusted them with the project at the Cannes Film Festival, right after the screening of The Great Gatsby – apparently the atmosphere of the movie inspired the Hollywood couple. The hotel tycoon’s request was that the interiors and the uniforms of the personnel evoked the essence of the Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires, the flagship hotel of the chain, and bring its style to Florida. There the Luhrmanns lived in the 1990s during the shooting of “Romeo + Juliet”. It was the chance to create another hotel with a very strong personality. A few metres from the Atlantic Ocean, the Faena Miami welcomes its guests like a two-faced Janus: the first face overlooks the street, and the second, very colourful, looks toward the private beach. All the elements of this easy-going revisited architecture of yesteryear are there to recreate the joyful atmosphere of 1930s and 1950s Miami. The colourful, art deco–shaped parasols in the pool area match the red velvet curtains, the brasses, and the luxury alcove–style crystals of the interiors. Irony is always looming, however, to avoid the risks of self-importance: an example is the crystal showcase, in the garden, with the golden skeleton of a baby mammoth on display: “Gone but not forgotten” is the humorous title of this work by Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.
The Faena Hotel Miami is in the area formerly occupied by the Saxony Resort, the hotel that in the 1940s gave birth to the wealthy suburb of South Beach, also called “the American Riviera”. Today the hotel is reborn with its 58 rooms, 111 suites, and 2 penthouses, with a style inspired by the Opera and the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, an eclectic mix of Fitzgerald style Arte Deco and South American penchant for hospitality. Beside the huge number of rooms, the hotel includes a theatre for cabaret, a cinema with 36 seats, a wine cellar, a SPA with a hammam, and a restaurant under a dome with an ocean view. Alan Faena and his wife, Ximena Caminos, the artistic curator of the project, are today the most powerful couple in Miami. The hotel is only a part of the huge project that over the last 4 years has transformed this area of the city, located between the ocean and Indian Creek, into the Mecca of avant-garde culture.
It is no coincidence that to celebrate, at the end of November, the opening of the Faena Forum, the multidisciplinary centre for art and culture designed by Rem Koolhass’s OMA, were invited dozens of international artists. They will parade together with the locals for three hours on Collins Avenue. All these projects will be part of the new artistic district, which cost six billion dollars, with its own flag, crest, and film festival. It is already the centre of gravity of the next edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, which will be held between the 7th and 10th of December 2017. The area, renamed Futopia (Faena +Utopia), includes other elements: besides the artistic centre Faena Forum, curated by Caminos herself, which will open in April, the project comprises the Faena Bazaar designed by Rem Koolhas, a marina, a guest house in hacienda style, and a residential building, the Faena House, designed by Norman Foster. The complex will include apartments whose price tag will range from 2 million dollars to the 60 million of the 1600-sq m penthouse.
Photo: Bill Wisser
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