There are many ways for a contemporary development to make a splash, but of late, one of the most distinctive approaches has been the installation of an artwork. The sculpture or painting sets the creative tone of the enterprise – the better the art, the more stylish the residences, is the intended message.
And they don’t come much better than Jeff Koons, one of whose works has fetched $58.4m. At the north end of Miami Beach, the Bal Harbour Club is being transformed into the Oceana Bal Harbour, with two of the maestro’s works prominently positioned “front of house”. Pluto and Proserpina, a 3.35m-tall sculpture, will greet homeowners in the centre breezeway, while the 2.1m Ballerina will be poised between the two pools on the east side of the building. Before taking up residence, the works will be displayed at the Whitney, the Centre Pompidou and the Guggenheim in Spain. Inside the lobby, curated by world-renowned Italian designer Piero Lissoni, a further ten masterpieces of contemporary art will reinforce the creative point.
With unobstructed ocean and bay views, 240 luxe one- to five-bedroom apartments featuring expansive balconies, generous three-metre-high ceilings and exquisite Italian cabinetry, are surrounded by tennis courts, two pools and extensive private entertaining space. The notion of artwork interacting with residents’ daily lives is high-concept stuff, depending as it does on the design and quality of the homes living up to the promise of, in this case, Koons’s sculptures. At Oceana Bal Harbour, the auguries are good.
On a more modest scale, down on South Beach, architect Rene Gonzalez is creating the four-storey, 12-residence Louver House, the lobby of which will house artworks by Michele Oka Doner. Her work, which reflects the natural world, and has been on display at MoMA, the Louvre and the Art Institute of Chicago, perfectly complements the architect’s aspiration to create a building that “engages in a design conversation with its surroundings”. Minimalist contemporary design, a rooftop garden with infinity- edge pool deck, yoga studio, smart technology and full-time residential manager are all in perfect sync with SoBe living.
There’s also much excitement about OKO Group’s plans for its new Missoni Baia 57-storey tower on Biscayne Bay. Under the creative direction of Angela and Rosita Missoni, architect Hani Rashid, designer Paris Forino and landscaper Enzo Enea are crafting a visionary structure that promises to be, like Zaha Hadid’s 1000 Museum, an artistic statement in its own right.
Speaking of which, in London, the new Herzog & de Meuron-designed Switch House has just opened at Tate Modern. Already surrounded by other artsy creations including Neo Bankside, the latest iteration of the Thames- side quarter’s renaissance, is South Bank Tower. The triple-height, glass-fronted residents’ lobby is dominated by an aluminium sculpture, Vertical Shell, conceived and curated by cultural consultancy Futurecity, and executed by Slovenian artist Tobias Putrih. The positioning of the work, facing the street and close to the Oxo Tower and über-fashionable Mondrian hotel, engages not only residents, but also passers-by and the wider cultural community.
Having saluted the beauty of the work on their way in, buyers have a choice of 189 variously sized apartments and four penthouses, some costing as much as a modest Picasso. Designed by Dara Huang, the duplex on the 39th and 40th floors is opulent even by London’s stratospherically high standards, while the large lateral apartment on the 38th floor has dramatic river views and bespoke walnut joinery that practically qualifies as art in its own right. Once again, on this project the art installation downstairs is a genuine signifier of the quality upstairs.
Taking the idea of public art anchoring residential development a step further, the rulers of Abu Dhabi have persuaded the Louvre to establish its very first museum outside France on the 27sq km Saadiyat Island scheme. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel, the eagerly anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi and the collection it houses, not to mention a new Guggenheim and National Museum, sets Saadiyat apart from anything else in the region.
Owners of one of the 500 prestige residences and 750-plus apartments spread across 12 neighbourhoods on the island also a have Gary Player-designed beachfront golf course, St Regis and Park Hyatt hotels, as well as shopping malls and internationally branded dining venues to choose from. But it is the series of world- class artistic and cultural installations that make Saadiyat so special for its appreciative residents.