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The Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld’s work spans a multitude of public and private spaces, such as hotels, restaurants, homes, cultural centers, and offices. Since 2000, the indoor and outdoor spaces that make up his work have earned him global recognition and more than 65 awards in architecture and interior design. Soon, Miami will be seeing a new Weinfeld project: the Fasano Hotel + Residences at Shore Club in Miami.
Miami’s iconic Shore Club, built in 1939, is being renovated as the Fasano Hotel + Residences at Shore Club with Weinfeld at the helm. It will offer 5 star hotel services curated by Fasano, and is set to be equipped with 75 residences and 100 hotel rooms. Condominium residences will be located in North & Central Towers and along with five unique two-story Beach Houses and a newly constructed amenities building featuring a state-of-the-art fitness facility with yoga and personal training rooms, in addition to a spa and wellness center. Hotel units will be located in in the South Tower with the main hotel lobby retaining many of its iconic details.
HFZ Capital Group bought the property in December 2013 for $175.3 million and brought on Weinfeld shortly after, along with the Fasano Group. A bonus: Weinfeld and Fasano have a long preexisting relationship, as he has now designed all but one of their four hotels in Latin America and 15 other bar and restaurant establishments as well. This, though, will be the group’s first collaboration in the United States.
With the Shore Club’s many restrictions on what can be renovated, reconstructed, and demolished, especially in regard to the Cromwell building, for Weinfeld it is important to keep what must be kept and change what must be changed. “The lobby of the building, the columns, the floor—you have to preserve the color of the floor, and many other items in the building,” said Weinfeld when discussing what preservations are already accounted for. “The rest that we could change we are changing according to the needs of HFZ—as a commercial project with the condominiums—and also, with thoughts of Fasano to have the same feeling, but in a city like Miami.”
Weinfeld is redesigning the swimming pool, and it will be the largest in South Beach measuring over 250 feet long and featuring over 9,500 square feet of oceanfront swimming. “I love to design swimming pools, and Miami is so iconic for its swimming pools. That was a big pleasure to have the opportunity to do something like this,” he said. His swooping terrace and outdoor spaces will also be present. “You have the sea in front of you; you wonderful views,” said Weinfeld as he touched on the fact that your outside patio is linked to your interior. “You feel as if don’t know if you are inside or outside, and this is very important in a place like Miami.”
And unless you are in Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach and just happen to see temporary art, you will not be seeing any pieces of art in the entirety of the hotel. “I don’t know yet, but I hope not, because I never put art in my public spaces. Art is so important for me that I don’t see it as a piece of decoration in a public space,” he said. “I prefer to have just the space with other elements and not art. If you go to Fasano, you never see any work of art. And this is not because I am against art—it is exactly the opposite. It’s because I am very respectful with art.”
After seeing Weinfeld’s global work, which incorporates so many natural elements—non-interfering glass walls, private moats, floating staircases, private lakes—one starts to wonder what Weinfeld was like as a kid growing up in São Paulo, and if these types of environments were present in his upbringing.
“Well, I grew up in a very small place—a very poor, Jewish neighborhood in São Paulo with my parents, that after the war, survived,” he told us. There were no buildings that merged indoor and outdoor spaces by seamless panels of sliding glass, and there were certainly no inspirations that Weinfeld could build on. Instead, he was a teenager interested in film. Beginning at age 17, he started producing short films, enrolled into college to study architecture, and ever since, has continued his filmmaking endeavors.
“I am truly very happy to be recognized with language so difficult, as I think architecture’s is,” said Weinfeld. “Then, if I continue to do films, I think it would be easier for me to communicate what I eventually want to through my films with the architecture. That is another reason that I am proud of it, because I think it is more difficult to achieve.”
A version of this article is published in Whitewall‘s winter 2016 Lifestyle Issue, out this month.