Posts tagged with "Miami":

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Frank Gehry to Masterplan Miami’s Landmark Bacardi Complex

Frank Gehry should be plenty busy with ambitious plans to revitalize downtown Toronto and to expand Facebook’s offices on the boards. Now, Gehry has been commissioned by the National YoungArts Foundation (NYAF) to update one of Miami’s most elegant and historically significant urban spaces: The Bacardi Complex on Biscayne Boulevard. Purchased below market for $10 million by the NYAF—a nonprofit arts organization that helps aspiring high school artists—Gehry will convert the former 3.5 acre corporate campus into a new arts complex. “By acquiring the Bacardi campus we are able to honor and preserve an important part of Miami’s cultural history,” Paul T. Lehr, executive director of YoungArts, said in a statement. Known for his curvaceous object-buildings, Gehry has already addressed obvious concerns from local community members and historic preservationists. “It’s not going to be a building that’s architecturally published in any way,” he told The New York Times, suggesting that his renovations won't include his typical flourishes on the campus' exterior. “But it’s a place I want to go.” A jewel of Miami Modernism (MiMo), the complex houses the beautifully-proportioned, 8-story Bacardi Headquarters Building (1963), a structure that elegantly fuses European, Latin American, and Caribbean Modern influences. Arguably one of Cuban architect Enrique Gutierrez’s best projects (designed in collaboration with Mies van der Rohe), Bacardi quickly became a symbol of hope and nostalgia to Miami’s newly immigrated Cuban community, a burst of intense formal beauty on an otherwise banal Miami streetscape. Its solid north-south facades showcase tropical murals designed by Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand, who used 28,000 6" by 6" hand-painted blue and white ceramic tiles to produce a warm, exotic contrast to the cool, gridded glass facade floating above the street. Behind the tower, a smaller, 2-story annex building nicknamed “The Jewel Box on a Pedestal” (1975) hovers 47-feet above the street. Designed by local Coral Gables architect Ignacio Carrera-Justiz , the Jewel Box also fuses architecture, culture, and art. Its exuberant one-inch thick glass mosaic walls,  produced by French stained glass artists Gabriel and Jacques Loire, were designed by German artist Johannes Dietz to reference the rich and complex rum-making process. Miami's Preservation Board designated the complex, including its buildings, “historic” in October 2009, prohibiting demolition and protecting its heritage from insensitive alterations. Gehry, who has long been friends with NYAF's founders, will make interior alterations to accommodate new educational programs, design a new public park, and build a new performing arts center to replace an existing—non-landmarked—office building. “I have been a mentor to some of the YoungArts students and know what a tremendous impact this organization has on them,” Gehry said in a statement. “It’s a privilege to help make a new home for YoungArts, so it can do even more for these wonderful young people.”
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Quick Clicks> Carchitecture, Cats, Litter, Blight

[ Quick Clicks> A guided tour of interesting links from across the web. And beyond. ] Carchitecture. What happens when you hire Herzog & de Meuron to design your parking garage? People suddenly begin to push out the cars. That seems to be the case in Miami Beach according to a NY Times article on the upscale soirees and and tourists that have become common place in the uncommon structure. Cats on Broadway. No, it's not a return of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, but a proposal to add a little theatrics to Chicago's Broadway. Curbed reports that the proposal is part of an IIT thesis project calling for a pedestrian-oriented street complete with a statue of a giant waving car (or more properly, a Maneki Neko). Please Litter. Could the latest trend in snail mail be a pro-littering campaign? According to TreeHugger, Google has embedded seeds in paper (recycled, of course) for a recent mailer. The letter advises its recipient to "plant in a sunny spot with a thin layer of soil... and watch it grow." Abandonment. Detroit has become infamous for its ruins, and ruins can be oh so seductive, but Noreen Malone at The New Republic says it's time to end our infatuation with "ruin porn." Malone takes aim at the message a deserted photograph devoid of people sends when Detroit's abandoned are left out of the abandonment. [ Photo credit: joevare/flickr. ]
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Towering Beacon Awaits Approval in Miami Beach

You won't see German artist Tobias Rehberger's proposed Lighthouse installation at this year's Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach, but if the city approves the project next week, the towering beacon could be lighting up the night sky by the end of 2011.  To be located in South Pointe Park at a cost of $500,000, the 55-foot tall Lighthouse is comprised of stacked cylinders and would represent Rehberger's first public commission in the United States. [ Via The Art Newspaper. ]
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Design Miami: Under the Big Top

Design Miami is all about furnishings as art, parties, being someplace warm in December, and more parties. It’s not so much about architecture, except that the most riveting eye-grabber is often an installation by an architect. In 2006, Zaha Hadid, named Designer of the Year, created a plasticene web of wonder that ensorcelled the interior atrium of the Moore Building in the Design District. More recently ArandaLasch created tents set up closer to the action and directly in front of the convention center where Art Basel Miami Beach is located. This year the tent went to New York architects Moorhead & Moorhead. They worked in collaboration with ArandaLasch who fitted out the interiors. This year’s Designer of the Year, Konstantin Grcic elected to put his installation in the tent-shaded courtyard:  his Netscapes are structurally intense hammocks, swing sets for real swingers, as it were. The morning after opening night, we talked to Granger Moorhead about their tent installation:  “We had to cover a lot of area on a limited budget [$40,000], so we decided to work as much as possible with existing rental tents. We started with those solid vinyl panels that are basically floppy and flat. Then we slit them with an offset pattern and folded them in and out and fixed them with aluminum pop rivets to create tension and to make them volumetric. The openings allowed for light and air and a very pleasant atmosphere for hanging out on the hammocks.” Two tents are set up side by side with the smaller one serving as an open forecourt with partially slit sides to show off the process and the transition,  a favorite Moorhead & Moorhead motif. The larger portion is left untouched. “We started working on it conceptually six months ago but because it’s in a parking lot, it had to go up really fast, in a week and a half,” said Moorhead. He added that the best part of Design Miami so far was finding a Miami edition of the Shake Shack, but with no lines.
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Fontainebleau Anew

Morris Lapidus' Fontainebleau in Miami is one of the most recognizable hotels in the United States, thanks in no small part to its frequent appearances in television shows and films, perhaps most notably and intimately in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger. A recent two-year revitalization has brought the old bastion of luxury and class—which had begun to show its wear—back to prime condition. More than just polish up the surfaces, the effort included the addition of a free-standing spa. The designers, Dallas-based architectural firm HKS, selected a blue tinted glass for the spa's curtain wall. In addition to referencing the adjacent pool's azure complexion, the glass (1 5/16-inch thick Viracon laminated units with a Vanceva Storm interlayer) meets Miami's strict large missile impact and hurricane codes. Goldfinger would be proud.
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Voluntary Prisoners of Downtown Miami

Contemporary art curator and AN colleague Leanne Mella has organized a potent and compelling exhibition entitled The Prisoner's Dilemma for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, known as CIFO, in downtown Miami. With noble intentions, given the socio-political climate of the recent past, the work in Mella's exhibition showcases the ways in which artists respond to the exercise of power in contemporary life. The politics of the show are highly nuanced, visually stunning, and often quite poetic. As the exhibit's introductory text explains:

"The works in this exhibition comment upon, confront and challenge strategies of totalizing power and social control. Issues of powerlessness, exclusion, conformity, marginality, transgression, subversion, escapism, transcendence, protest and resistance are all inventively addressed in this selection of works. 

These works and their expansive forms convey a great sense of scale, immediacy and connection to the viewing subject. Perhaps, because they are intentionally immersive in an age when conventional cinema has relinquished much of its phenomenological power in favor of media miniaturization and portability as represented by the rapid proliferation of DVDs, iPods and YouTube viewership.”

The show features work by leading artists such as Alexander Apóstol, Judith Barry, Paolo Canevari, Stan Douglas, Jimmie Durham, Cao Fei, Regina Galindo, Carlos Garaicoa, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Carlos Motta, Shirin Neshat, Julian Rosefeldt, and Eve Sussman and many more. The CIFO building itself, in the gritty warehouse district and designed by local architect Rene Gonzalez, is also impressive, as it breaks away from the cool neutrality of many exhibition spaces and presents us with a hot tropical jungle facade and a large garden patio for social gatherings in the middle of an otherwise nondescript urban environment. The show will be on view through March 1, 2009. If you are going to be in Miami this winter, this exhibition is a must see.
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Miami Vices

Designer and AN friend Ken Saylor, of saylor+sirola, reports from Art|Basel|Miami Beach: For the seventh year in a row, the international art world descended upon Miami Beach to instantly transform the city into a galaxy of cultural production, salesmanship, and hopefully, with this year's delicate economy, elite consumption. If you add cars, champagne, mojitos, and cigars, provided by the current corporate sponsors, one's experience of Art|Basel|Miami Beach was a decadently over-the-top trip to the beach. With 24 auxiliary fairs attaching themselves to the main event, it is impossible to see everything, although everyone runs around the city in frantic abandon—entourages in tow—to openings, parties, parties, and, yes, more parties. Despite the mood of abandon, many New York City gallery owners and directors were either somber or pragmatic in their assessment of the current art market, stating that they were either prepared for the recent economic crisis and had downsized their presentations and sales expectations, or chose to show work that was sure to sell. As one prominent dealer put it, "The conversation is finally about art again, not about money." If one was blind to the current state of world affairs and entered the world of excess, however, Miami was awesome!   Art Positions, an exhibition by young galleries that presented their wares in shipping containers converted to public art spaces, was one of the highlights of the Miami trip. Twenty containers surround a central plaza where Art|Basel|Miami Beach and WPS1.org Art Radio created an immersive futuristic environment, featuring an architectural installation by Federico Díaz and E-Area. Surround-sound audio, video projections, mood lighting, food, drink, and live radio broadcasts provided the ultimate art world beach lounge, a welcome spot to chill out after the visual intensity and economic jitters of the fair. The escapist theme was, of course, intentional. According to the press release, "The themes celebrated in this environment are a retro-futuristic vision first explored by artists, architects, filmmakers, designers, and musicians of the '50s and '60s. Some of their organic shapes, space-age materials, hallucinogenic visions, dreamscapes and soundscapes, and early computer-assisted design have been integrated into the project."   As for the design itself: "A deformed topography of polyethylene layers cut by CNC robotic technology blankets the courtyard of Art Positions. The lounge, cafe, and Art Radio broadcast booth were transformed by undulating waves, extrusions, and futuristic furniture all awash in a bed of soothing psychedelic sound, light, and video." Just lovely.   For a different sort of surreality, located within the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, Cartier presented "Diamonds, Gold and Dreams," an immersive audio-visual environment conceived by filmmaker and visual artist David Lynch. The interior of the dome was designed as an ornate and gilded event space, complete with Cartier jewel cases around the perimeter where you could try on jewelery. The domed ceiling was used as a giant planetarium-esque projection surface using state of the art projection technology.   The seven-minute show begins with an impressive Pantheon dome structure of floating jewels carefully arranged around a small oculus. Then the Lynch magic begins, as the ceiling begins to undulate and graphically transform into a variety of shapes using the clusters of jewels. Finally, the jewels come crashing down on the spectators below. Most of the VIP visitors in the space didn't seem to realize the show's obvious irony: the sky was falling!