When Champalimaud Design of New York City was called upon to design the lobby and two models in Palazzo Della Luna – a condominium complex sited on the last remaining parcel of Fisher Island, Florida – they were eager to take on the project. Notable as the firm’s first new residential development commission in Miami, Alexandra Champalimaud and partner Winston Kong employed their signature understated style throughout.
First, a little background about Fisher Island. Measuring just 216 acres with less than 500 residents, it is located directly across the inlet from Miami’s South Beach, and has been home to such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and Andre Agassi. “Fisher Island is the #1 most expensive zip code in the country,” says Winston Kong, Champalimaud’s lead designer for this project. “The inspiration for our interior designs was based on the environment, setting and the market demographic of people from the northern states, Europe and Russia who want to escape from their hustle-bustle lifestyle and stay here in the winters; they are high networth individuals and well-heeled travelers.” Accessible only by ferry, helicopter or boat, the island retains an aura of unmatched exclusivity.
As the building’s all-important introduction, the lobby seemed a perfect place to establish the design tone of Palazzo Della Luna, Kong noted. “This lobby has a plaster bas relief of a banana leaf, and the south lobby has a plaster bas relief feathered wall that reflects the indigenous flora, fauna and peacocks on the island.” Another nod to the resident peacocks is a series of blackened metal screens Champalimaud designed. “The bird-design screens show peacocks in a modern, abstract version that is streamlined. It has smaller, baby peacocks, females, and males with their tail feathers fanned out. The birds are almost in a half-shadow, like an illusion.”
Kong feels that the design team’s aesthetic is a mindful departure from the glitz of neighboring South Beach. “We designed Palazzo Della Luna as a tropical oasis that will nurture and give warmth to its residents. There is a hint of Miami in its tropical setting, yet its design is understated with a tonal palette that uses cerused oak, white and off-white plasterwork, gilded glass, terrazzo and white lacquer. There’s not much in this project that’s overly flashy.”
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