Sometime a book party is more than just a book party. When the author and subject are none other than supermodel Cindy Crawford, you know it’s of superstar proportions. Factor in the cover boy for high-concept 21st-century real estate development as co-host, and what you get is one definitively chic party in one of the most highly anticipated real estate districts of Miami.
Such was the scene at the recent celebration for Crawford’s new book, Becoming, published by Rizzoli and co-authored by Katherine O’Leary. Faena Rose—Faena Group’s exclusive arts and culture–based membership community offering privileges that include a series of exclusive arts and cultural experiences—hosted a lunch at one of Faena’s latest properties, Casa Claridge’s Faena Miami Beach. The luncheon was followed by a talk moderated by Faena Rose’s Pablo De Ritis, after which Crawford sat to sign copies of her visually stunning and persuasively honest reflection of her renowned career.
It was an especially fitting occasion and venue, all things considered. On hand to toast Crawford was the man responsible for the understatedly tasteful renovation of Casa Claridge’s, Alan Faena. Faena has been making headlines this month for the debut of his Faena Hotel Miami Beach, the first opening in what’s being called Faena District Miami Beach, a new neighborhood with art and culture at its core. (Casa Claridge’s, just diagonally across from the soaring new hotel, is a charming period property that’s been restored as a more approachable “guesthouse” for the district.) Situated on a majestic strip of beach in the heart of Miami Beach, Faena District stretches north from 32nd Street to 36th Street—between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Creek—and is set to open in phases over the next three years. It will feature a unique combination of cultural, residential, hotel, retail, restaurant, and public environments that have been conceived as dynamic expressions of art, design, nature, technology, and service.
On 32nd Street and Collins Avenue, Faena Hotel Miami Beach typifies South American hospitality. Formerly the historic Saxony Hotel, the hotel features 169 rooms and suites and 13 penthouse residences spanning the top two floors, all designed in collaboration with Mr. Faena by award-winning film director and producer Baz Luhrmann and Academy Award–winning production and costume designer Catherine Martin. The Saxony was one of Miami Beach’s first luxury hotels and a beacon of glamour, where Hollywood icons like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Dean Martin entertained the crowds. Faena enlisted Luhrmann and Martin to create a hotel that will carry on this colorful legacy.
Culture and theatrics are set to play an instrumental role. Inspired by the great opera houses of the world, the 3,000-square-foot Theater at Faena Hotel Miami Beach will present live cabaret shows for guests and the public alike. The property’s 22,000-square-foot Tierra Santa Spa brings to Miami the first South American–inspired spa, while the hotel’s fire kitchen, Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann, marks the celebrated South American chef’s only restaurant in the United States (complete with asados, or outdoor barbecues).
Faena District will include Faena Forum, an institution dedicated to cultural programming across disciplines. Designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA, the 50,000-square-foot building will debut in April 2016, and will feature a series of large flexible spaces for site-specific projects, installations, performances, and events. It will serve as a public venue for the exploration of ideas by professionals and practitioners from a range of fields, including the arts, sciences, technology, politics, and urbanism, to foster “transdisciplinary research and discovery.”
Rounding out Faena District will be its luxurious residential units, including the 18-story Fosters + Partners–designed Faena House, as well as the William Sofield–designed Faena Versailles Classic, which offers 22 exclusive residences. Faena House and Faena Versailles residents will enjoy privileged access to all hotel services provided by Faena Hotel Miami Beach, as well as all cultural offerings of the district.
With the debut of Faena District Miami Beach, Faena remains true to its mission of creating inspiring cultural communities of world-class hotels, residences, exhibition and entertainment spaces, retail environments, and restaurants. Mr. Faena has long believed in balancing art, architecture, nature, and technology to develop neighborhoods that redefine how we live. Whether this latest Faena District will actually redefine the way we (or Miami Beach visitors and residents) live remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: just like Crawford did with her first magazine cover a few decades before, Faena is offering us a rarefied vision of the world.