The Style Behind Biscayne Beach

The highly anticipated 51-story Biscayne Beach condominium finally opened this summer—officially bringing the beach to Miami’s urban backdrop. The East Edgewater tower, built by Two Roads Development and GTIS Partners, is already a massive hit and is occupied by elites from around the globe. The property is beautiful both inside and outside, featuring a luxurious man-made beach club with white sand, a bayfront pool with limitless water views, chaise lounges and daybeds, resident- and members-only cabanas, and sophisticated classic-style common areas and penthouse units with designs by Thom Filicia. Reid Boren, Managing Partner of Two Roads, commented, “The beautiful design elements by Thom Filicia combined with the area’s first and only beach club make Biscayne Beach the hottest address in the East Edgewater neighborhood.” Below, Filicia shares exclusive details about his background in interior design, his interest in Miami, and, most importantly, his contributions to creating Miami’s most coveted new digs.

Q: Tell me about your background in interior design.
A: I’ve been interested in design from an early age, debating between architecture and interior design in college. The first time I realized I might have an aptitude for design was in elementary school when we had a substitute teacher and I drew an entire house on my desk. When my regular teacher returned, she called into the principal to reprimand my bad behavior of drawing on the desk. But before they made me erase the drawing, they had me take a photo with the drawing because they were so impressed with what I had done. I thought at that moment that I might be on to something.

Q: How did you land on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?
A: I never anticipated getting into television and one day, as I was taking my dog out at my design office, I got stuck in an elevator with a group of people—one of whom happened to be a casting director. She must have thought I was funny, as I was trying to keep everybody calm and not panic about the fact that my dog was about to relieve himself in the corner. Needless to say, a week or so after the elevator incident, she came to my office asking if I’d ever consider doing a TV show. The rest is history…

Q: Tell me about your role in the Biscayne Beach project.
A: We are excited to have designed all of the common areas of Biscayne Beach, as well as the fit and finish of all of the units including the doors, trim, kitchen cabinets, faucets, and bathroom amenities. The point of view of Biscayne Beach is to create a place where the city meets the beach. We wanted the building to feel connected to the water but have a unique point of view, being in the heart of it all with Wynwood, Downtown, and the Design District all just steps away. We wanted the design to feel friendly and approachable, yet sophisticated and stylish—a place where you can kick back and relax or have an elegant dinner party with friends.
For our design we selected materials that showcase a balance of urban yet earthy. We used travertine as opposed to marble, honed stones instead of polished to evoke a sense of organic elegance. To counter-balance the steel and glass, we’ve chosen a lot of woven elements like linens, grasscloth, and textured draperies that help add a depth and dynamic layer to the spaces.

Q: Can you describe Miami style? Why is it unique?
A: Miami is becoming one of the most important American cities—a place where people want to feel like they are on vacation while also being exposed to all of the great cultural, creative entertainment of a bustling metropolis. Biscayne Beach is about doing just this—bringing the city to the beach and the beach to the city, offering homeowners a unique opportunity to engage with the evolving area.

Q: How would you describe your interior design style?
A: I design for the way people live today, taking into consideration the location, architecture, and personalities of the people, brand, or family that lives there. I strive to tell the authentic story with my interiors and to give the home a point of view that speaks to the way the homeowner lives and entertains with their friends and loved ones.

Q: Do you prefer commercial projects or residential projects?
A: I love them both and feel like they both present unique challenges and opportunities. I love working with clients because it’s all about getting to know them and bringing their authentic personality to the space. With commercial projects you are able to create that personal story through the lens of the brand, the location, and the environment that you’re working with. In everything I do, whether commercial or residential, it’s about giving the interior a soul and point of view.