La vida Starck
Three years from completion, the Icon apartments are already the talk of Miami Beach
Raul Barreneche -- Interior Design, 2/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
In case the dozens of furnishings on the market aren't enough to satisfy your Philippe Starck cravings, you can now buy a Miami Beach condo at least partially designed by him. Icon, a high-rise development from the Related Group of Florida, reprises Yoo, developer John Hitchcox's residential projects in London and Melbourne, Australia.
As at Yoo, Starck collaborated on the design of the Icon building and concepts for its individual units. Buyers can pick one of four Starck-approved interior-finish packages for kitchens and baths: Nature, Culture, Classic, and Minimal. The rest of the apartment is delivered raw.
Each kitchen and bath package features a signature combination of wood and stone. The Nature package isn't as earthy as it sounds—it combines white oak and veiny, high-contrast Arabescato marble. The Culture option includes pale beech and bluish Spanish limestone. For dark merbau wood and French limestone, try the Classic choice. And Minimal is suitably subtle, with white oak and white Thassos marble.
According to Related Group, Culture and Classic are the two most popular to date. There's also a fifth, none-of-the-above option that's not designed by Starck but carries his seal of approval. This basic but still high-end palette resembles that used by Related Group in other residential projects, including the Murano Grande, which will open next door to Icon with a David Rockwell–designed lobby.
The Icon building will indeed be an icon in South Beach. Local firms Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership and Fullerton Diaz Architects are collaborating on the two-tiered tower, to rise 35 and 40 stories above Biscayne Bay at the corner of Fifth Street and Alton Road—land ho for visitors driving over the MacArthur Causeway from mainland Miami. Three months after going on the market, Related Group reported, 55 percent of Icon's 289 apartments had sold, proving that design is a highly bankable commodity even in tough economic times. The building is set to begin construction this spring; completion is slated for 2005.
Left: Philippe Starck cheekily dresses up a sample Classic kitchen with merbau wood cabinets, a French limestone floor, and an oversize chandelier.
Buyers have been making their purchases based on the contents of a tarted-up trailer on the building site. Here, the designer and his team of stylists have mocked up four rooms—one in each of the themes—to showcase aesthetic possibilities. Some vignettes have strong overtones of existing Starck interiors, such as the Mondrian and Royalton hotels. Other presentations are a lineup of Starck products, including his La Bohème acrylic stools in jelly-bean colors. Among the original touches and downright surprises is a beaded African armchair, a highlight of the Nature living-dining room.
Left: A Culture bathroom comes with a mirror framed in etched glass, walls clad in Spanish limestone, and a Starck-designed washbasin and hardware.
Left: The suitably titled Minimal kitchen features such atypical flourishes as the Arco lamp by Achille Castiglioni and Patrick Norguet's chair, covered in Pucci fabric.
Extras are available, of course. Springing for an upgrade package will buy you a more finished apartment—with flooring, wall surfaces, light fixtures, window treatments, and ceiling fans—plus the assistance of in-house interior designer Claudia Matas. There are no furniture packages to help you instantly re-create, say, the Delano lobby. For that, the sales office will steer you toward the Starck furniture lines carried by a local emporium, Luminaire.
Left: In the sales-office waiting room, Starck offers furnishings suggestions, pairing his acrylic La Bohème stools with an Eames one in solid walnut, then adding a wool throw.