Edgewater Elegance

BY LINDA MARX

Thom Filicia brings the beach to the city in his beautiful design of common areas and amenities spaces for Biscayne Beach, a new residential tower in Downtown Miami.

Bringing Biscayne Bay’s waterfront to the Miami Design District was a fascinating challenge for celebrity interior designer Thom Filicia, who is known for creating modern yet classic spaces. His design for the Biscayne Beach condominium development is a clever marriage of Miami and the Bay. “I designed a building which celebrates the connection between city and water, “ says New York-based Filicia, who created the common areas and amenities, a private bayfront Beach Club, and hardware and cabinets in the condominium’s individual residences. “Wonderful things happen when the city meets the beach.”

The former interior design expert on Bravo’s Emmy Award-winning Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was excited to develop the interior design for this 52-story luxury residential tower in Miami’s East Edgewater neighborhood. Not only was this his first Miami condominium design project, but its location is in an area of town that is emerging as a powerhouse destination. Plus, he was able to create “beach chic” designs ideal for a variety of tastes.

His concept for the interior and exterior living spaces includes a mix-and-match of novel patterns, gray woods, travertine marble, bronze metallics, textured walls, modern lighting, and furniture and artwork from his Thom Filicia Home Collection, which was designed with classic simplicity and the style and taste for the way buyers live today. He used materials that are artful, relaxed and easy for a waterfront lifestyle connected to a younger neighborhood. “I was inspired by the sand, the sea and the city,” he says. “By mixing natural elements with raw and refined materials, we created common areas that are bold and sophisticated yet inviting and approachable, which exudes a sense of place.”

Biscayne Beach is a joint venture between real estate companies Two Roads Development in South Florida and GTIS Partners in New York. The building offers one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, townhome-style beach house units and two upper-level penthouses with private rooftop pools and garden terraces. Most of the units have been sold at prices ranging from about $400,000 to $9 million.

As residents, guests and prospective buyers enter the building, they are immediately drawn to the lobby design from the talented Filicia, who has also completed work for the W and Rosemont hotels, Delta Airlines, and celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Tina Fey. The grand entrance is highlighted by beautiful travertine floors and hand-painted silver-leaf wallcoverings at the reception area. “I love the lobby because it offers a first impression,” says Filicia. “It gives you a ‘wow’ moment while being stylish, fun, cool and livable.”

Art is all around, from the Gerald Di Giusto lobby sculptures to other framed works from the designer’s collection in the club room and gallery wall guiding guests down the main lobby corridor. His bold use of color and dynamic mix of materials pay homage to the energy of Miami while creating a sense of calm with soft textures and casual indoor-outdoor living. “I wanted warmth with character and its own personality,” explains Filicia. “The look is clean, sophisticated and modern, with colors that connect to the beach and sand. I also used green to blur the inside and outside.”

He selected matte stone to make the public areas approachable, rich, tactile and modern. The design was driven by the opportunity he had to help define what this neighborhood would become. “Its proximity to the water, the city, the growing design scene, and all that Miami has to offer allowed us to create a unique voice that feels at the same time sophisticated yet serene, cool yet casual, and elegant yet earthy,” he says. Filicia incorporated this mix of materials, textures, patterns and colors to tell the real story of Biscayne Beach, which is a tale of a city within a city. Here, families gather poolside, couples can relax while taking in the view of Miami Beach, and young professionals can explore all there is to offer in this building and surrounding neighborhood. For example, The Great Room on the amenity level is a medley of materials and furnishings that are both playful and elegant. The vibe is personal because its scale is human, and the lighting is beautiful. “The seating around the TV is great; you feel like you are visiting friends,” says Filicia. “The character of the neighborhood connects with everything we did.”

The Beach Club, open only to residents and members, offers an L-shaped, zero-entry pool on an elevated white-sand beach with cabanas, fire pits, a beach volleyball court, lounge seating, an outdoor beach bar and pool/beachside food and beverage service. Set against a backdrop of bay views with a public walkway to the water, the area will appeal to members and residents of all ages. There is an entertaining area with full kitchen, children’s water park and game room, fitness center, and full-service spa with a blow-dry bar, his-and-hers saunas, and steam and massage treatment rooms.

The design creates excitement with lights on bands of wood to make guests feel like they are on vacation, happily ensconced under the stars. Felicia characterizes his design as “unpredictable,” which is perfect for the well traveled denizens who call Biscayne Beach home.

The residences (some owners have also hired Filicia to design their individual interiors) are created with premium fixtures, finishes and appliances featuring 10-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling impact-resistant glass windows and sliding doors, and unobstructed bay and city views. Penthouses have 12- to 14-foot ceilings, large master bedroom suites, spa-intensive master bathrooms, his-and-hers walk-in closets, and oversized private terraces with large outdoor living spaces.

The upper two-story penthouse residences have 16-foot ceilings, upper and lower living rooms, formal and informal dining rooms, sky terraces with heated swimming pools and summer kitchens, and master bathroom saunas for the international buyer who is accustomed to having them in the house.“My team was a perfect fit for the concept of this building,” says Filicia. “We brought creativity and positive energy to the public spaces, and the amenity areas are fresh, friendly, light and happy yet very modern and sophisticated.”

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