By: Lauren Goodman
The Brazilian interior designer show house has brought 25,000 square feet of top-notch design to the city
Downtown Miami is booming. The burgeoning Brickell neighborhood, on the Miami River, is a 30-minute drive from historic South Beach. Dense with high-rises and power restaurants (à la Cipriani, Casa Tua, Zuma, the Mandarin Oriental), the financial district tripled its population from 2000 to 2016. The billions of dollars in new real estate are crying out for decorators to swoop in and work their magic—after all, those glass-box condos with coveted water views need furniture.
Enter Casacor Miami, the Brazilian interior designer show house that opened its doors once again at 700 Brickell Avenue during Art Basel. Inside, a slew of designers have transformed 25,000 square feet into a magical palace of design inspiration—perfect fodder for developers and homeowners in the area. Architects and decorators used an innovative mix of materials, proportions, and concepts to explore the themes of sustainability and urban living throughout the home. Below, AD PRO goes beyond the house's Edge Collections elevator bank to tour the space—which is open through December 21.
Entry by Moniomi
Miami's Ronald Alvarez and Monica Santayana custom-designed everything in their pastel-hued and sports-themed entryway. The exhibit marks the debut of the young duo’s Altis Ornamentum line—which is inspired by both Miami Art Deco and the Memphis Group. According to the pair, the room takes cues from ancient games—a reference apparent in the classical Greek lines and arches of the custom wallpaper. “The furniture is meant to be played with,” Alvarez explains to AD PRO. In one playful moment, a dining table made of pink onyx and black marble doubles as a ping-pong table. Moniomi’s graphic textured carpets and curvaceous furniture are also standouts. The only thing in the space not from Altis Ornamentum is a Lucite seesaw by Gabrielle Noelle—let the games begin.
Sitting Room by Sig Bergamin
Brazilian decorator Sig Bergamin went more-is-more for his 1970s-inspired room. Bright colors, patterns, textures, shapes, materials, and vivid art come together in this groovy lounge space. Round canvases, tables, and a carpet and seating option by Vladimir Kagan and Paul McCobb mix with graphic rectangles against squiggly Pierre Frey wallpaper. Brass and Lucite give the room depth and movement, as do works of art by Hunt Slonem, André Poli, David Sorey, and Lina Sinisterra.
Kitchen by Yodezeen
Ukrainian design firm Yodezeen created an all-black marble and glass kitchen with a futuristic feel. “We used black to make the space [feel] bigger,” one designer explains to AD PRO. “Also, it’s different from what people see in Miami—where there are predominantly white kitchens.” In a collaboration with Cosentino, the duo created enormous kitchen islands completely out of a matte black-and-white-veined stone that open to reveal elaborately designed drawers and cabinets. Thanks to Snaidero USA, the space also boasts custom-made ribbed-glass sliding doors, slick metal appliances, and open shelving in black wood. As a finishing touch, Yodezeen placed plants in illuminated glass closets, creating a jungle-like effect.
Earth Lounge by Michelle Haim
Michelle Haim of Fanny Haim & Associates interpreted Casacor’s sustainability theme in the most, well, grounded way. “The palette is about the earth, and terra-cotta," the Bogota-born, Miami-raised designer explains to AD PRO. Haim chose brick produced in Mexico to create the surface of most of the indoor-outdoor space, while the remainder was covered in a recycled terrazzo from Naturali Stone. At the center of the spa-like lobby, Haim installed a 40-year old Yucca tree within a graphic midcentury-style planter. Elsewhere, a wall of square bookshelves holds a series of clay sculptures by artist Ken Gangbar, while the designer's own accent pieces created with Holly Hunt can also be glimpsed. The finishing touch are the brick moveable walls that will be able to be reused, rather than discarded, when the show comes down.
Lounge Room by Mr. Alex Tate Design
Alex Alonso worked for many years in Hollywood. So it's perhaps no huge surprise that for his expansive Victorian-style sitting room, Alonso looked to cinema for inspiration. “I was watching movies one weekend, and it was all about celebrating the '70s—this kitschy moment.” Alonso recalls to AD PRO, adding that for this project he “imagined a mashup between Clockwork Orange and a Quentin Tarantino [production].” Bold photography hangs on bright orange walls, which contrast with ones draped in teal velvet. Mirrored ceilings reflect the mod lighting and accent pieces from West Elm and Crate & Barrel, which are mixed with more traditional European-style furniture and art. A half-circle ivory-leather couch by Jonathan Adler is at the center of the room, opposite a rainbow circular shag carpet.
Jewel Box by Light on White
In this sliver of a room by Light on White, sculptural tables in marble are gathered artfully for placing a drink or perching in the center of the room. The just-launched Koa Tables, as they are titled, are in fact the impetus for the design—as they are part of Light on White's new Objets collection. Elsewhere, soft details like lush cream wall-to-wall carpet, taupe drapes, and glamorous tassels by Cowtan & Tout, plus an Oscar Niemeyer Alta Chair, “make it feel like you are stepping into a jewel box,” according to the designers. Strips of antique mirror, a white lacquer ceiling, and glowing glass pendant lights by Omer Arbel create a dance of reflections and sparkle.
Wellness Room by Pininfarina and Land.Design
Austin Powers would be right at home amidst the tropical fronds and aqua velvet seating in this stone lair—the product of Pininfarina, in partnership with Land.Design and Cosentino. The 1970s-inspired wellness room is designed to engage the five senses and to detach the visitor from the tech-driven world we inhabit. (Yes, please!) Land.Design chose the plants included in this jungle-like oasis for either their fragrant properties or their medicinal uses.
Scape Space by Cristiana Mascarenhas
“I did this space for two people and maybe a dog,” the New York–based architect Christiana Mascarenhas of In Plus tells AD PRO. “Close the door, and it’s your world.” Like the designer herself, “everything in the room is Brazilian,” she adds. That means the art (by Frida Baranek, Martiza Caneca, Gustavo Prado, and Tanya Goel), the turquoise trompe-l’oeil tile wallpaper by Paolo Werneck, and the furniture. The minimal white room has wood railroad ties floors in a gray wash, floating orchids, and large-scale sculptures (one of which doubles as a couch). A wall of wooden bars also pulls its weight, serving as both hardware to display art and equipment on which one can work out.
Family Room by Allan Malouf
Brazilian architect Allan Malouf chose a neutral palette for his clean yet sumptuous family room (a contrast to a very colorful version he created last year for Casacor). “To warm it up, we decided to cover the walls with wood," Malouf tells AD PRO. "Guys came in from Brazil to do it. I also wanted it to be sophisticated, so we layered it with marble.” Enormous floating slabs are balanced by a quietly lush seating area with low white upholstered chairs by Milan's Project Home.
Pleasure Chamber by IG Workshop
“We wanted to demystify this idea of bondage," Samantha Gallacher says as she begins to explain the pleasure chamber she and her partner Renata Vazconcez designed together. The prompt the duo gave themselves was to “take a Christian Gray room and ask, ‘What if a woman designed it?’” The result is a space that is both soft and hard, playful and a bit intimidating. Feather ticklers hang on flax linen walls, next to sculptural Lucite and leather handcuffs by Gabriela Noelle. A Lucite stripper pole descends into a thick slab of watermelon marble. Nearby, a swing covered in mauve Mongolian lambskin hangs from the ceiling. Above the clinical-looking bed with harnesses for wrists and ankles (upholstered in ivory boucle wool), there are custom velvet Art Deco headboards in wine and teal. The zipper rugs are from the design duo’s line, Art+Loom.
Jamie Odabashian smiled as one visitor walked in his room and blew on some Palo Santo ash. “All good vibes,” said the third generation leader of a namesake Armenian family rug business, which was first established in 1921 in Mexico City. Heirloom, the name given to one of the show house's otherwise nondescript rooms, is the result of a collaboration between Odabashian, interior designer Rodrigo Albir of Studio Roda, and painter Johanna Boccardo. The inspiration for the space came from one of Albir's previous commissions, in which a client-couple commissioned a rug based on their own child’s artwork. At Casacor, a video shows the (young) artist at work, with her original canvas hanging alongside its correlating large knotted silk rug, which was produced in India.
Sky High Retreat by B+G Design
“We wanted a muse,” designer Giselle Loor of the husband-wife team behind B+G Design tells AD PRO. “So we chose a few ’90s supermodels. We asked, ‘Where would Linda, Claudia, and Christy hang out?’” The minimal yet glamorous bedroom that resulted has all the trappings of a well-traveled fashion girl on the move. There's an enormous black-and-white photography book by Mert and Marcus atop a Lucite stand, an agate bowl, and mysterious feathered objets affixed to the wall. Fittingly, there is also super-luxurious furniture by Fendi Casa and camel leather sconces that flank the bed. “This is different than our regular work, which is more contemporary and minimal,” designer Brett Sugarman explains.
Bahamian Dreams by Alberto Salaberri
The ever-dapper Alberto Salaberri's home base is in Palm Beach—which his Casacor room can't help but indicate. Inside this rattan-ensconced bedroom, a dramatic tented linen white ceiling is anchored by a vintage Ralph Lauren carved wooden four-poster bed. Blue and white chinoiserie lamps and fabrics sit atop bamboo and bamboo-inspired furniture. Salaberri also makes good use of hand-woven banana leaf pillows, wall-to-wall woven sisal fibers, a flax linen upholstered couch, and a wooden, rope-appointed bedroom bench. One can practically feel the warm ocean breeze wafting through.
Living Room by Tamara Feldman Design
“I chose the word amalgam because it's a mixture of different styles," designer Tamara Feldman says when asked to describe her room. The Art Deco marble tile floor, midcentury details, and more speak to the fact that Feldman drew inspiration from both her upbringing in Mexico City and her time spent studying in Japan. Throughout her sophisticated living room, a series of details stand out: Custom fluted white oak by Davila Woodwork lines the walls, while rich geometric hand-carved emerald green and black Marquina marble can also be seen. The furniture included is by Minotti, while Feldman went to Flos to source her light fixtures. Finally, artworks by Robert Thiele depicting iconic faces, like that of Marilyn Monroe, convey a sense of glamour.
Light Room by Leo Shehtman
Brazil-based designer Leo Shehtman has participated in Casacor for years. This year, for his taupe-hued great room, Shehtman mounted huge slabs of Dekton stone to counterbalance unsightly beams. The angles add dimensionality and movement to the minimal space. With a few exceptions, all the furniture, which is contemporary, is from Brazil and designed by Shehtman. Though exacting in his neutral palette, Shehtman layered in a few green accents—including foliage and neon Lucite—to bring the space additional energy.
Office by Guimar Urbina Interiors
“I was thinking about that young influencer who works from home," Guimar Urbina says to AD PRO of the office she designed for multitasking social media stars. "I am trying to convince them that they need to make it chic." But the design is also practical, as evidenced by the young Miami-based designer's rotating walls of different photo backdrops (perfect for selfies, naturally). Each panel has a different surface from Urbina’s new line for The Wallpaper Company, from faux marble to stripes to a silver surfaced cork. In a separate area, pulled together by an Alexander McQueen for the Rug Company carpet, there is low seating and a stone-slab coffee table, which is, according to Urbina, "where the brainstorming happens."
Lobby and Exterior by Jesus Pacheco Studio
Peruvian landscape and interior designer Jesus Pacheco started his career at 18—working on a design television show in his hometown. The handsome, Lima-based 30-year-old now hosts his own show on Telemundo and teaches at the University of Arts & Sciences of Latin America. For Casacor Miami, Pacheco designed highly contemporary sculpture-driven outdoor spaces inspired by the "lavish nature of Florida, both marine and land." Amidst native plants, there is curvilinear seating, a coral-inspired Sergio Matos Acau armchair, and coral-inspired sculpture made of recycled clay by artists Beatriz Chachamovits and Lauren Shapiro.