Friday, November 7, 2014

Miami Social Diary

Vizcaya, south terrace. As many as 800 Vizcaya Sundowners attended Saturday night's costume benefit party in support of the cultural organization.
Miami Social Diary: Brickell – Wynwood – MiMo – Design District – Coral Gables – Vizcaya
By Augustus Mayhew

With the art world's annual international aesthetic convergence on South Beach only weeks away, I would have thought a Saturday in late October might be a less hectic time to navigate Miami. No luck; traffic jams everywhere that I thought were never going to move. Buy your Miami parking App now. And yes, I was the only person who did not know Oprah Winfrey was on Biscayne Boulevard for her Oprah's The Life You Want weekend at the American Airlines Arena that seats about 19,000.

And from the whirl of cars and taxis, she must have sold out. Despite the construction sites and detours, I managed some moments at Balan's in the Mary Brickell Village complex. Perricone's was packed, as was nearly every other café and restaurant.
From there, I motored up to the Design District for a pizza at Michael's Genuine before taking a look at the many construction sites being rushed to completion. Doubtful whether they will be ready for Art Basel week; then, again ... A few blocks north, and more than few minutes, I took a look at The Vagabond Motel's superb update and renovation. Saturday night I headed over to the sold-out benefit for the Locust Projects arts organization. A pleasure seeing Susan Ervin again who last rescued me from the security team at The Breakers during the Everglades Foundation dinner.

Later, on my way to Vizcaya, I stopped in at Books and Books where Palm Beacher Margaret Thornton was reading form her novel Charleston. As you recall, she and her husband John Thornton bought the Sidney Kimmel cottage at 1235 South Ocean Boulevard in 2008 for $77.5 million. She was in the midst of book signing when I arrived. I finished the night at Vizcaya's landmark Halloween Sundowner party that benefits many of its ongoing preservation efforts. Great fun!
Vizcaya, south terrace after dark.

Construction is underway for the new Sales Gallery at Ugo Colombo's latest offering, the Brickell Flatiron, under the creative guidance of Julian Schnabel, the condominium's designer of public spaces. Schnabel's distinctive Pompeii-red building is reported to have been inspired the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Giotto frescoes, as well as American architects Addison Mizner and Stanford White, perhaps as much as his own Palazzo Chuppi in New York's West Village.
For Brickell Flatiron's sales office, Schnabel is designing various patterns of ceramic fragments.
The Schnabel signature look at Brickell Flatiron's new sales gallery.
The bond condominium, under construction. "British glamour; Brickell chic."
Downtown Miami is riddled with construction and detours from Brickell to Midtown. On the barrier island, 60 condominium towers have been approved/planned from South Beach to Sunny Isles with 17 under construction.
Brickell Flatiron has a Schnabel; across the street, the 51-story SLS Luxury Miami residences has interiors by Philippe Starck and a "Botero masterpiece."
With its roof open to the sky on what was a beautiful day, Perricone's was packed.
The Union of the World. Gines Serran, sculptor. Mary Brickell Village.
In traffic, I took the next several photos through my windshield driving through Midtown.
The Viceroy Hotel, right, is home to Cipriani Miami at 465 Brickell Avenue.
Finally, maneuvered Biscayne by the Oprah event and Oprah's O-Town Sponsorship Village. The Ziff Opera House was designed by Pelli, Clarke, & Pelli Architects.
Art Miami readying for its 25th edition, opening December 2.
The New Times is reporting several art galleries have left Wynwood's less than artful Art Walk for other Midtown locations. Above, Kush, a popular craft beer bar.
The Vagabond Motel
7301 Biscayne Boulevard - Miami
Miami architect B. Robert Swartburg is credited with the 1953 design of the Vagabond Motel. Swartburg also crafted the Delano Hotel on South Beach.
The pool and bar area.
The attractive bar.
The Vagabond's recent renovation also included adding appropriate MiMo features.
The Vagabond's north elevation has a playful period fountain.
The motel's northwest corner houses the office.
Design District

On Wednesday, The Miami Herald reported that Design District partners Miami-based Dacra and L Real Estate (LVMH-Paris) sold a 20 per cent minority interest in their 19-acre Miami Design District Associates holdings for $280 million to NYC's Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. and General Growth Properties, a Chicago-based real-estate investment trust. According to The Herald, GGP bought 12.5 percent for $175 million; Ashkenazy paid $105 million for 7.5 percent. Recently, NYC buyers have been among the most active investors in Miami-Miami Beach's commercial real estate, including Thor Equities, Richard LeFrak, Helm Equities, Atlas Capital Group, Imperium Capital, Acadia Realty Trust, The Nightingale Group, and Kar Properties.

The Design District's other prominent buyers include the Gindi and Safra families. Miami's Design District is aiming for 120 luxury-brand stores by 2016 in their attempt to unseat the Whitman family's Bal Harbour Shops as the nation's leading luxury retail destination. Forty-five blocks south of the Design District, Whitman Family Development has plans underway with Swire Properties for Brickell City Centre, a $1 billion high-end five-million-square-foot retail/residential joint venture where Saks Fifth Avenue has inked as the anchor retail department store.
Louis Vuitton, 170 NE 38 Street.
A Ferrari adds panache to the valet parking stand.
A new mural awaits to be unveiled.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute's bubble.
Iwamoto Scott's tessellated mural "conceals the parking slabs" in this new parking garage.
Parking garage, north elevation. Iwamoto Scott, designer.
A new retain building designed by Aranda/Lasch.
An artful streetscape.
Billionaire offers Italian couture with white glove service whether in Miami or Dubai.
Locust Projects Smash & Grab Benefit
3852 North Miami Avenue – Miami/Design District

Since 1998, Locust Projects has provided exhibition space dedicated to contemporary visual artists. Locust offers the opportunity to create works without the pressures of gallery sales or limitations of conventional exhibition spaces. Artists are encouraged to create site-specific installations as an extension of their representative work. Locust Projects supports the local community through educational initiatives and programming. Saturday night was their annual Smash and Grab fundraiser, a unique sold out event. Patrons pay $500 for a ticket and if their number is called they can choose any of the available artwork. The works are untitled with only the name of the artist. The popular fundraiser attracts several hundred supporters and is one of the organization's largest sources of revenue.

Here are some of my impressions.
A work by artist Natalya Laskis.
Locust Projects supporters.
I left relatively early but the event drew an SRO crowd.
The scene at the Locust Projects' 2014 Smash and Grab benefit.
Brian Gefen, artist.
I was fascinated by this Artomat.
Reed van Bronschot, artist.
The Shake Shack team.
2014 Design Miami Visionary Award: Peter Marino

NYC architect Peter Marino has been tapped as the recipient of Design Miami's first Visionary Award. Marino's work will be subject of an exhibition December 3-7 at Design Miami's venue at the Miami Beach Convention Center across from Art Basel. The show will feature antique and contemporary chairs from Marino's collection, architectural maquettes and images, and his series of cast bronze boxes. At the same time, the nearby Bass Museum will open One Way, an exhibit titled focusing on Peter Marino's relationship with art, fashion and architectural design.
The Margulies Collection celebrates 15th anniversary
591 West 27th Street – Miami
One of Art News' top 200 collections, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse will showcase new works during Art Basel week, including sculpture by Mario Merz, Hans Josephsohn, Wilhelm Mundt, Richard Long, Meuser and Ronald Bladen. New works of painting by Jeff Elrod, Gregor Hildebrandt and new photography by Domingo Milella. Curator: Katherine Hinds.
The Hut Series, 2012. 56 c-prints. Olafur Eliasson, artist. The Margulies Collection.
The Margulies Collection warehouse also features permanent installations by Pier Paolo Calzolari, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Michael Heizer, Donald Judd, Anselm Kiefer, Jannis Kounellis, Sol LeWitt, Joan Miro, Isamu Noguchi, Michelangelo Pistoletto, George Segal, Richard Serra, Tony Smith and Franz West.
The staff at the Warehouse, comprising 45,000 square feet of exhibition space, have put the finishing touches on its "Fifteen Year Anniversary Exhibition."
Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue - Coral Gables

In a recent interview with The Palm Beach Daily News, author Margaret Thornton, who grew up in Charleston, said she never heard women referred to as Southern belles. "I wanted to write about what was real to me and what I thought was authentic. I wanted to write about the South from the inside out. Friends, who I grew up with, are doctors, lawyers, judges, journalists, painters, some own their own businesses. They're not Southern belles," Thornton said. On Saturday night, she was at Books and Books.
Margaret Thornton listens attentively.
Thornton welcomed attendees and signed books.
A view of the west entrance arcade looking from the forecourt across the pond.
With parking across the street at the Science Museum lot, I was spared having to valet.
Vizcaya's portal entrance.
Spooks jumped out from behind the statues, scaring some of the guests as they walked the dark haunting path.
Vizcaya's waterfront east elevation was James Deering's preferred manner of arriving at his winter cottage.
Guests had to be capable of scaling the steps from the lower to the upper terrace.
Everyone was either photographing or being photographed.
Though there were bars on the lower levels, the upper terrace proved the more popular gathering spot and the dance floor.
Vizcaya's all-weather courtyard was recently enclosed by a spectacular pyramidal-shaped skylight supported by structural steel.
Wonderland's VIPs were right at home at Vizcaya.
This nuanced quartet was in character. They were very funny.
A view through the leaded glass to the partygoers on the south terrace.
The south terrace made room for several bars and grills.
South terrace, fountain.
Black, red, and gray were popular colors.
Dumb, left, and Dumber, right.
Medusa had problems making her entrance up the grand staircase.
Pops of color.
Vizcaya's Sundowners celebrate Halloween!
The gardens were beautifully lit.
The loggia that opens up to the bay features 17th century-styled Venetian marble flooring.
The halls and stairs were lit with bright colors.
A formal downstairs room opens into the courtyard.
One of Vizcaya's many reception rooms opening onto the terrace and the courtyard.
And it looks like the party is just starting; time to go.
The island and the lower terrace.
Saturday night, 9:30 pm. A view of the island looking north toward the Rickenbacker Causeway and downtown Miami.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.