Alan Faena Creates Namesake District Around Redone Saxony Hotel
While other developers may put their name to a new building—a new, luxury condo tower or reimagined hotel—Argentine developer extraordinaire Alan Faena is creating an entire district in Downtown Miami, christened the Faena District. Within its borders, a collection of projects are helping to create a new neighborhood, introducing Miami to the same aesthetic that transformed a dilapidated area of Buenos Aires into a dynamic, trendy cultural capital under Faena’s direction.
The new Downtown Miami undertaking will go beyond a collection of buildings, intending to generate a creative hub with international influences. Following the model they successfully established in the Puerto Madero section of Buenos Aires, the heart of the new district will be an art center and Faena Bazaar with park. Famed architect Rem Koolhaas will design the art center, along with an artist-in-residence center and parking complex, according to a DesignBoom post in July 2013.1
Surrounding the cultural structures will be equally design-oriented projects, like the 18-floor luxury condo tower designed by Norman Foster. While not the largest or tallest building in the area, Faena House will stand out for its interior space and lifestyle features. Each unit will have vast, panoramic ocean views, especially visible from the “alero,” a characteristic part of South American homes. The alero is a wraparound terrace that encourages the indoor-outdoor life Faena wants to inspire in Miami.2
Among the many deluxe attractions are multi-story penthouse units, each with a private entrance and elevator, plus individual outdoor pool and amenities. With the sale of the last $50 million penthouse, announced in April, the building was officially sold out.3 Less than a month later, the Faena House crew and staff celebrated with Alan Faena as the structure was “topped off.”4
The next piece of the Faena District expected to come online is the renovated historic Saxony Hotel. Following his surefire formula of aligning each building with one or more superstars of architecture and design, Faena has nabbed award-winning Hollywood film couple, producer Baz Luhrmann and his collaborator and wife, designer Catherine Martin. Together, they will lead the way in transforming and updating the landmark structure.5
Luhrmann stressed the pair’s desire to reflect the hotel’s rich cultural history and “Baroque…Hollywood” style, incorporating many original motifs but updating them into a new, modern interpretation. The 1947 structure was the center of Miami’s glamourous lifestyle, with regulars like Frank Sinatra and his rat pack entertaining the cabaret crowd. The Luhrmann-Martin team collaboration seems to understand hotel life as theatre, and will apply their film and Broadway know-how, reinterpreting the past to reflect a dynamic future environment. Martin will use her costume and set design skills to create original uniform designs and add architectural details.
Luhrmann’s comments in Travel + Leisure magazine’s February interview reveal just how much at home he is with Faena’s ability to envision and create a reality that does not yet exist, saying “He does in reality what we tend to only do in film.”5
As the Faena District takes shape, the Miami real estate market continues to expand and change, keeping investors and home buyers on the lookout for the next golden opportunity to buy into the dynamic lifestyle.
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