Winter 2015

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118 Venice There's no denying Fort Lauderdale's future as a destination for affluent homebuyers. "In the next two years, we will have a new landscape and horizon with exciting new high-rise towers, beautifully designed condos and landmark hotels attracting the high-end market," says Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. There has been a particular increase in the number of residential projects planned within or alongside major luxury hotels, including Auberge Beach Residences & Spa, Four Seasons Private Residences, Gale Boutique Hotel & Residences, Hyde Beach House Resort Condominium & Residences and Bahia Mar's forthcoming condominiums, all of which have recently been completed or are expected to be completed within the next two years. Two projects of note that illustrate Fort Lauderdale's "resort residence" boom are The Ocean Resort Residences at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach and the Residences at W Fort Lauderdale, which are each perpetuating the trend of beachfront hotel living by drawing inspiration from the city's boating culture. The Ocean Resort Residences at Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach The 24-story Ocean Resort Residences (scheduled to be completed at the end of 2016) was one of the last projects built by postmodern architect Michael Graves, who died in March 2015 at age 80. The building's facade, with its sleek dimensions and porthole windows, mimics that of a yacht or old-time ocean liner. From the interior, residents can peer out and feel as if they are adrift at sea. Continuing Graves' overall architectural vision is a welcome challenge for the project's lead designer Julia Chi of local design firm Interiors by Steven G. "By maintaining a cohesive narrative within the original context initiated by Michael Graves, I have expanded upon the story of 'life by the sea,' ensuring that our design flows seamlessly with his vision," Chi says. "The interiors emulate life aboard a luxury cruise ship, incorporating gentle maritime undertones throughout the building." The Palm Beach native, who is based in Atlanta but frequents South Florida, also draws elements from Fort Lauderdale's strong yachting culture. "We've designed the interiors to feel as if you have stepped aboard this luxury yacht featuring customized furniture that serves multifaceted needs," Chi says. For example, a hydraulic table doubles as a coffee/dining table, a woman's vanity transforms into a writing desk, and a window shade can be used as a high-definition projector screen. Other touches include white Italian marble with walnut and teak wood and leather panels with brass and bronze metal accents, which were inspired by the steamer trunks used in the early 1900s. Chi says she designed the lobby with distinctive "shooting-star lighting, which tells a celestial story of the cosmic world where experienced sailors navigate their way through the night." She also commissioned local and international artists to create nautically themed art, such as the etched bronze mirrors on each floor's lobby. The Residences at W Fort Lauderdale Though based in New York City, Will Meyer of Meyer Davis Studio is no stranger to South Florida. The award-winning designer, whose firm was recently brought on to renovate the interiors of the Residences at the W Fort Lauderdale, is responsible for the design of Auberge Beach Residences & Spa Fort Lauderdale—with its distinctive, $2 million bronze sculpture, La Maternidad by Fernando Botero—and The Dutch restaurant at the W South Beach. "Fort Lauderdale is a good counterpoint to Miami Beach," Meyer says. "It's not crowded, but you get the beauty and energy of the beach...with its own culture and appeal. There is something about Fort Lauderdale that I really like. It's low-key, but fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously." Meyer used this image of the city as his muse when designing the W residences. "We are reinterpreting the concept narrative of the W hotel into something more unique and more succinct that really plays up the themes of Fort Lauderdale," says Meyer, whose design at the W Chicago Lakeshore won his firm many accolades. "When you think about the cruise ship industry, the famous spring break atmosphere and the history of the city itself, we are meshing all those things with the W story." Meyer wants residents to feel as though they are at the helm of a luxurious yacht and is proud of the touches borrowed from the design sensibilities of the boating world. The lines are clean and white, with punches of color. "The decor is very graphic and energetic," he says. v The residential building boom is Fort Lauderdale's latest calling card, attracting a star roster of architects and designers to its shore and city. BY LINDA BROCKMAN RESORT LIVING YEAR-ROUND HIGH-RISE DESIGNS Fort Lauderdale's new oceanfront condominiums, including Ocean Resort Residences at Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach (left) and the Residences at W Fort Lauderdale, are luring in leading design talents.

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