Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Palm Beach and Miami Social Diary

Sunday sunset at Beth Rudin DeWoody's residence where The Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County held its annual Spring Benefit.
Mounts Botanical Spring Benefit encore at DeWoody's waterfront compound
By Augustus Mayhew

Beth Rudin DeWoody's incomparable waterfront art park was the encore setting for The Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County’s annual Spring Benefit, supporting the county’s oldest and largest public garden.  More than 300 of the area’s most avid green thumbs gathered for an afternoon of cocktails, canapés, and irresistible sliders that kept the Great Lawn filled with smoke for most of the late afternoon event. 

Inspired by Lotusland, the garden near Santa Barbara once known as Tibetland, the palette of plants in DeWoody’s horticultural collection is as significant as the aesthetics of their design, credited to landscape architect Alan Stopek, principal of Effloresence Inc.

“The event was an overwhelming success last year, so we asked Beth if we could have it again at her incomparable estate,” said Polly Reed, president of the Friends of Mounts organization. “She said yes; we are especially grateful.”
Celebrating its 60th year at its present West Palm Beach location, the 14-acre The Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County is a picturesque and enlightening showcase for more than 2,000 species, including tropical and subtropical plants, plants native to Florida, exotic trees, tropical fruit, herbs, citrus, and palms. Affiliated with the University of Florida, The Mounts offers classes, workshops, and lecture programs with renowned horticulturist sand master gardeners.

“Funds from last year’s benefit went towards enhancing our visibility, funding significant foliage, palm plantings, and tree installations at The Mounts’ entrance,” said Allen Sistrunk, garden director. “This year’s proceeds will fund a national call to artists. In collaboration with a landscape architect, the winning artist will create a conceptual and construction plan for a new Tropical Wetlands Garden, to be sited on the existing Color and Shade Island."
Sunday afternoon at the DeWoody residence overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
Mounts Botanical Garden Spring Benefit, Principal Sponsors.
Polly Reed, party chairman and president of Friends of the Mounts.
Friends of the Mounts, Board of Directors.
Richard Crone, board member Jane Nugent, and Andre Manzi.
Biba St. Croix. Cathy Helowicz.
The pool fronts the Intracoastal Waterway with a view to the east of the Palm Beach Country Club.
The contoured plantings flank the south side of the pool, separating it from the Great Lawn.
A touch of art in a flower bed.
Many of the plants may have been drought-tolerant but guests withstood the mid-80s temperature at the open bar.
The silent auction tables were set up on the Great Lawn between the main house and the guest quarters.
Kit Pannill. Holly Breeden and Hawley Hilton McAuliffe.
Joel and Darcie Kassewitz.
Renny Reynolds and Mary Hilliard.
Lisa and John Cregan. Director and regional manager at Barclays Wealth, John Cregan and Barclays were one of the event's major sponsors. Peggy Moore.
Rabbi Michael Resnick and Roni Schneider.
Seph and Barbie Huber.
Lucy and Nat Day.
The geometric composition provides a focal point on the Great Lawn.
The two guest quarter residences at the DeWoody compound are separated by an artful courtyard with a pergola and lap pool.
From the pergola, a view towards the lap pool and topiaries.
Diana Barrett, Polly Reed, and Julia Hansen.
The embedded crystals added to the vibration.
Vladimir Kagan. The New York Times called Kagan "one of the most important furniture designers of the 20th century."
Nat Day, Barbie Huber, and Vladimir Kagan. Cheers!
A view towards the bar from the main residence's east terrace.
Night lights circle the trunk of a spectacular palm tree.
A late afternoon view of the main house.
The late afternoon sun spotlights a stand of palms along the north side of the main house.
7:45 pm, Sunday night.
Allen Sistrunk, director of The Mounts Botanical Garden, and Angela Budano.
The Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County
531 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach
Gardening Questions: 561.233.1750
Mounts Botanical Garden. Butterfly Garden.
Mounts Botanical Garden. View to the southeast towards the Shade and Color Island.
Mounts Botanical Garden. Entrance trellis overlooking the Rose and Fragrance Garden.
Mounts Botanical Garden. The Light Shade Tropical Garden.
Mounts Botanical Garden, Garden of Extremes.
Mounts Botanical Garden. Garden of Extremes.
Mounts Botanical Garden. The bridge to the Shade and Color Island with Malay Palms.
Mounts Botanical Garden. Native to western India, the jackfruit tree has been cultivated in Florida for more than a century.
Mounts Botanical Garden. Afternoon shadows looking towards the Rainbow Garden.
Miami Social Diary

Faena Miami Beach + Miami’s Design District
A Billion Here & A Billion There

If traffic snarls along Alton Road don’t provide enough memorable moments, then you might try navigating the multi-block chaos during the construction of the Miami Beach version of the Faena District, where following last December’s annual Art Basel fiesta on Miami Beach, Bloomberg reported Lloyd Blankfein had inked a deal for one of its multi-million dollar residences. Having completed the mixed-use Faena District in Buenos Aires, former Argentine fashion designer turned real estate developer Allan Faena and Ukrainian-American uber-billionaire Leonard “Len” Blavatnik are recreating a starchitect sequel, called a Collaboratory, to five-blocks of oceanfront at Collins Avenue and 34th Street, having gained approvals for building/re-building more than 1 million square feet for a myriad of uses, including residential, commercial, a cultural facility, and a much-needed parking garage.

Helen Mar. 1937. Robert E. Collins, architect. The Helen Mar's classic historical profile that once defined the area may soon appear to be anomalous.
The Collaboratory’s formula for success includes noted Australians, designer Catherine Martin and Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann, crafting the designs for the hotel’s interiors and the staff’s uniforms; Rem Koolhaas has formulated the cultural arts facility (“Coming Soon”); and Norman Foster’s firm Foster + Partners is credited with the residences.

Meanwhile, across the Julia Tuttle Causeway at ever-evolving Miami’s Design District, another billion-dollar luxe development is underway, targeting the world’s One Percent.  Restricted by Bal Harbour Shops’ lease agreements, Paris-based L Real Estate equity fund, representing the development of LVMH luxury brands headed by Michael Burke and Bernard Arnault,  formed Miami Design District Associates with Craig Robins, CEO of Dacra Holdings, said to own 700,000-square-feet of existing commercial space, making for  70 % of the district’s existing buildings. What LVMH created at Shanghai’s L’Avenue Mall and Hong Kong, it hopes to recreate in Midtown Miami. With hard hats, tool belts, and construction gloves the district’s current must-have accessories,  beginning in Fall 2014 more than 50 luxury fashion brands, among them, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Tiffany & Co., Tod’s, Panerai, Tag Heur, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Van Cleef & Arpels will open in the redeveloped district, joining Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Berluti, Emilio Pucci, Maison Martin Margiela, Prada, Rick Owens, Celine, and CIE Financiére Richemont’s  Vacheron Constantin and Cartier, who already have existing boutiques. 

“Miami upstart stealing high-end stores from Bal Harbour,” read the headline at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, when the LVMH-Dacra deal was first announced. In an interview, Robins described Bal Harbour, the nation’s leading luxury shopping destination, as a “remote, inaccessible, beautiful mall.” In response, Matthew Whitman Lazenby, grandson of Bal Harbour Shops’ founder Stanley Whitman and president and chief executive of Whitman Family Development, defends his family’s radius clause as a prevailing industry standard. With a planned expansion not set to open until 2017, the Whitmans have reportedly entered into a partnership to develop Brickell CityCentre with more than 500,000 sq. ft. of retail space in Miami's financial district, only a few blocks south of the Design District.

Stay tuned as the battle of the billionaire brands heats up in the fall.

Here is a look at my Saturday expedition to Faena MiamiBeach and the Design District.
Faena Collaboratory, oceanfront sales pavilion. A view from the ocean side of the ongoing transformation of the former Saxony Hotel, recently infused with a $300 million line of credit. Faena promises "the highest level of luxurious service, enriched by the South American flair." Running at 500- feet per minute, the building's three passenger elevators will feature interiors in Bendheim glass and Japanese silk wallpaper. Penthouse master suites will accommodate morning kitchens. The Trapex door handles are designed by Foster+Partners.
"Faena is Community." The cement truck entrance view from Collins Avenue where across the street more than a dozen cement truck engines are idling, ready to pour. Norman Foster's Foster+Partners designed the residences, whose World Port Center I had recently visited in Rotterdam.
Faena House. Currently under construction, the project's first phase includes the 18-story Faena House, which will have 47 units priced at an average $3,000 a square foot ($3 million to $50 million). According to Faena's web site, residences will be equipped with Crestron TPMC-V15s units with in-wall touch screens installed in kitchens that allow residents to interact with all of the services. It also provides a control point to operate lighting, thermostats, motorized shades and act as a portal to the Techcierge system that provides biometric fingerprint readers.
Faena. The suites appear almost ready for occupancy.
The cranes add a kinetic sculptural aesthetic to the skyline.
The gutted Versailles is part of the Faena District; its Collins Avenue elevation adorned with a colorful mural.
Along the ocean side, hard to tell if the Versailles is being prepped for renovation or prepared for demolition.
Patio setting at the Faena Collaboratory sales pavilion.
A graphic mural adds some eyewash to the construction site.
A few blocks south of Faena, Ian Schrager's 26-unit Edition condominium, the former Seville Hotel, nears completion, designed by John Pawson. An on-premise "lifestyle manager" will handle residents' day-to-day needs, according to the website.
Edition condominium, a view from the ocean boardwalk. Dedicated to "The Good Life," unit owners may opt for Pawson-Schrager-designed linens, cookware, dishes, and towels.
Miami Design District + L Real Estate
The Paseo Ponti, a 30-foot wide pedestrian walkway, will connect the northern and southern points within the district.
JBL Building. K/R Architect.
The district's new development will include buildings by renowned architects Sou Fujimoto, Aranda/Lasch, K/R, Iwamoto Scott, and Leong Leong, as well as art installations by John Baldessari and The Buckminster Fuller Institute.
Not all cement trucks were line up along Indian Creek at the Faena project, as some were in the Design District.
Michael's Genuine still attracts the largest crowd in the design district.
The walkway between Michael's on 40th Street and 39th Street. Not quite yet the same ambiance found at Bal Harbour but within the next several months the developers are promising a complete transformation, "Where Luxury Happens."
Pucci. Sales associates take in a few moments of sunshine and fresh air.
Hermes. Several brands in boutique venues will be moving to more spacious flagship stores when construction is completed.
Christian Louboutin. Signs of 21st -century civilization.
Helen Mar. Reflections on Lake Pancoast.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

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