South Beach Condominiums and Marketing Centre
An established, yet forward-thinking commercial / residential property developer acquired a unique land parcel in Toronto, upon which they proposed to build a genuinely unique complex that would be their debut in this city’s hyperactive condo market. Deciding that standout design and luxury details would be crucial elements in their success, they engaged II BY IV Design Associates to develop a theme and design that would be appropriate to the unusual site and very different from any other offering in the marketplace. With views overlooking the lake, the city skyline and the adjacent conservation area, yet only minutes from everything downtown has to offer, the location was inspiring.
Together, the developers, architect and II BY IV Design team determined that the second, lifestyle inspiration would be the renowned chic South Beach style. The interior designers made a busy 24-hour visit to that famous 3-kilometre-long triangle at the southern tip of Miami Beach and returned with a myriad of ideas for the design of the two 31-storey towers, the art deco-inspired retail plaza at their base, and the public and amenity spaces. Each tower will be topped by a glassed in garden feature and capped by a glowing green or blue glass crown where reflective solar panels will generate some of the energy used in the building. Inside, grand scale, tropical colours, dramatic chandeliers, lush fabrics, and eclectic furnishings will elegantly re-interpret the Roaring Twenties Miami hotspot’s styling for today’s buyers.
However, the first design challenge was to design a marketing centre that would demonstrate the lifestyle, the superior design elements, and the extraordinary construction and finishing quality that will characterize the new South Beach.
Rising above a vast forecourt and at nearly 13,000 sf with a 24 foot span to the roof deck, the sheer scale of the presentation centre, which was constructed in a former food packing facility on the building site, makes a powerful statement – and playing with scale was one of II BY IV’s tactics for creating continuous excitement throughout it.
That excitement begins with the large reflecting pool on the front deck, with its huge, white illuminated flower pots on concrete pads, against a 10 foot tall backdrop of oceanscape printed film below the white and black metal scrim of the upper building façade. At extreme right, framed in bright white, is an enormous double-door entry constructed of hot pink tempered glass, which bathes the lobby interior with a tropical sunset-like glow.
Stunning by day or night, this dramatic arrival setting perfectly reflects what Architecture Week once declared the key elements of the South Beach architectural heritage – ‘simple geometrical and streamlined themes, highly decorative ornamentation, bright pastel colours, and smooth texture, combine(d) with the intense blue skies’. That article referred to the almost cartoon-like surrealism of the South Beach look. Indeed, the design includes many droll touches to surprise and delight visitors – such as the life size horse lamp by avant garde Dutch design company, Moooi, standing just inside the doors and the custom-designed, hugely overscaled ‘lampshade’ hanging fixtures and striking floor lamps employed throughout the main presentation lounge.
In addition to large scale building and area models displayed atop classic white Calacatta marble plinths, which match the sleek, 30-foot long reception desk, the principal space includes a series of ‘rooms’, variously delineated with tall draperies and huge, yet delicate, pierced screens, but all open to view. The model area itself is defined between rows of a dozen tall, faux boxwood hedges, reminiscent of the topiary-lined entrance the famous Delano Hotel. The hedges are inset with marketing graphics and unit floor plans – very quickly emblazoned with ‘sold out’ notices.
Surrounded by 24-foot high swathes of triple-full, ripple fold drapery, the ‘boardroom’ features a tall table and high, elegant, polished aluminium chairs set below flamboyant, 5-foot tangerine chandeliers, and reflected in a massive, white-framed floor mirror with inset plasma screen. Smoked mirror is used for the overscale armoire behind the reception desk, filled with colourful bottles of South Beach water and incorporating another plasma screen. More giant mirrors with video displays surround the ‘theatre’s’ array of clear and purple acrylic stools, under another playful chandelier. Opposite, massive lampshade fixtures above the closing area’s smart, glossy, black desks and chairs create the impression of private meeting spaces. Centred between these two areas and under more fabulous chandeliers is the welcoming lobby lounge comprising two groupings of wildly eclectic, exceptionally comfortable furnishings, featuring crisp linen, buttery leather, acrylic, polished chrome, marble and other luxe finishes.
All the furnishings, fixtures, accessories and iconic style elements are those that will appear in the lobbies of the built towers. Similarly, the two fully equipped kitchen vignettes display the luxurious materials, finishes, hardware and appliances that are standard to the three levels of finishing available to purchasers.
II BY IV’s reputation as one of the world’s leading retail designers is reflected in their innovative design for the large and striking finishes gallery. Here, 10-foot tall mirror-lined black armoires display the finish options in much the same way high end accessories would be in a tony boutique. This dramatic presentation emphasizes the importance of the collections, which were also developed by the firm.