Sun, sand and see

Faena District in Miami Beach will offer places to stay as well as plenty of choices for art and entertainment

Miami Beach's Faena House.
Miami Beach's Faena House.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Miami Beach's Faena House; a guestroom in Faena Hotel (above); and the upcoming Faena Forum.
Miami Beach's Faena House; a guestroom in Faena Hotel (above); and the upcoming Faena Forum.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Miami Beach's Faena House; a guestroom in Faena Hotel; and the upcoming Faena Forum (above).
Miami Beach's Faena House; a guestroom in Faena Hotel; and the upcoming Faena Forum (above).PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

NEW YORK • Forget Art Basel. The biggest news out of Miami Beach these days is the ever-evolving Faena District, a massive masterplanned arts/entertainment/ residential development that stretches four blocks along Mid-Beach between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Creek.

Argentinian developer Alan Faena enlisted starchitects Rem Koolhaas and Norman Foster and even film director Baz Luhrmann to create an arts-laden "utopian" city- within-a-city. As the hotel opened on Tuesday, here is a look at the US$1-billion (S$1.4-billion) development's progress.


  • Designed by Foster+Partners, the Faena House condominiums sit on Collins Avenue and 34th Street in Mid-Beach, north of Miami's famous South Beach Art Deco District. It has 42 residences spread over 18 floors with distinctive wraparound balconies.
  • A monumental Jeff Koons Coloring Book artwork greets residents for now. The piece from the artists' Celebration Series is on loan to the Faena District.
  • Colourful light plays on the polished concrete walls and stone floors, thanks to a 8.8m-high, site-specific installation by Carlos Cruz-Diez called Transchromie Faena. Although out of frame, water features pass from the lobby into the landscaping in front.
  • The building is colloquially known as the "15 Central Park West of Miami", with reported buyers including billionaire hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, art dealer Larry Gagosian and Goldman Sachs chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein. The 12,516 sq ft penthouse (with private rooftop pool) sold for US$60 million, a new Miami record.


  • Next door to the Faena House is the Faena Hotel Miami Beach.
  • The 14-floor, 169-room property re-invents the historic Saxony Hotel, a playground for the Hollywood elite in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Room furniture is custom-made, designed by Mr Faena who collaborated with Luhrmann and costume designer Catherine Martin on the overall vision. The goal: glamorous 1950s, sumptuous Art Deco and old-world appeal.
  • Be it in textiles, leather or the Deco design of the handmade rugs, Faena and Martin love a passionate red. Each hotel floor comes with a dedicated butler.


  • Across the street from the Faena House sits the Faena Forum, designed by Pritzker Prize- winning Koolhaas of OMA. Set to open next year, the 50,000 sq ft building will be a multi-disciplinary arts and culture centre overseen by Ms Ximena Caminos, wife of Mr Faena.  


  • Looking north-east from Collins and 33rd Street, the Faena Versailles Classic, which is under construction, will offer 22 residences in the former Hotel Versailles. Yet to rise is a new sister tower, Faena Versailles Contemporary. There will also be a new mall (Faena Bazaar), a high-tech garage (Faena Park) and Marina on Indian Creek designed by Koolhaas.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2015, with the headline 'Sun, sand and see'. Print Edition | Subscribe