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Objekt - September 2005

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Hospital Island Becomes Miami's New De-luxe Paradise

Text: Izabel Spike / Photos: Hans Fonk

Half Miami's design community has been involved. Hundreds of publications highlighted it at a very early stage, but in 2005 the first occupants will at last be able to move in. The Aqua project was conceived by Craig Robins who, with his development company Dacra, also worked on the transformation of Miami's South Beach Art Deco district at the end of the nineteen-eighties, making it one of the most trendy places in the world. Now it's Allison island's turn—formerly home to a hospital and now a de-luxe paradise with condominiums and waterside villas. The designer Simona Ciancetta guided OBJEKT© International around a world of modern design and splendid vistas.

The building boom in Miami in these eariy years of the new millennium is quite incredible. Every square inch is being used for apartment buildings, and the end would not yet seem to be in sigh. Craig Robins, design impresario and art collector, is seeking to revive the concept of community living in the Aqua project on Allison Island. He ashed urban designers Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plaier-Zyberekto interpret his ideas for the Island, where modernist architecture would serve security, privacy and quality living. Architects Walter F. Chatham, Alison Spear and Alexander Gorlin were commissioned to design an apartment building each, while Harin & Harin, Suzanne Martinson, Brown Demandt, Albaisa Musumano, Allan T. Shulman and Emanuela Frattini Magnusson were involved in conceiving the low-rise. Each design recurs five or six times in the overall plan, in that way guaranteeing a varied aspect, which is further reinforced by extensive use of colour. A great deal has already been wrinen about Aqua and its Initiator, and, at last, in 2005 the first residents are moving in. Several have asked the interior designer Simona Ciancetta to furnish their villa or condominium.

"I believe the interiors should follow the design of Walter F. Chatham's complex with its distinctive architecture, tall windows and unrestricted views on all sides, emphasising the surroundings and the formal impact. The furniture should be of strong design, while playing a sub-servient yet functional role." It sounds simple in theory, but in practice this design philosophy amounts to a sophisticated interplay of lines, structures, materials, accessories and art.

Ciancetta was born in Italy and worked tnere in interior design with her former partners, Dilmos Milano. She took the store concept to Miami and, with her Via Solferino Italian Furniture, introduced furniture makes like Edra, and lighting like Catellam & Smith in the American market, going on to add a range of Brazilian design. "I hunt the world over for new design with no geographical constraints, with a view to achieving evolution in my work—which is essential for me". Simona explains And, accordingly, she seeks to convey that same approach to her clients.

"Most people prove to be better informed about the latest fashion updates in the interior than about the basics of design. That's something I have to instill in them and if they feel they can rely on me in that respect, they usually allow me to conduct the entire design process. Of course, the design must be attuned to the client's style, but it's extremely satisfying when, at the end of the process, you realise that the client has undergone a design evolution.'

In fact, she expects her clients to use their imagination, since she invariably works without catalogues of leading fumiture-makers when selecting furnishing and other interior elements. She creates her own solutions which, when combined with existing design, will produce the desired results—a design that guarantees a personalised ambience for every interior.⊕

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