A Canvas Of Dreams

This Soaring Waterfront Miami Beach Contemporary Home, Designed By An Award-Winning Architectural And Design Team With Furnishings By Artefacto, Pulses With Possibility And Passion

Story Credits

Furniture Design and Staging:
Paulo Bacchi, Artefacto, Miami, FL
Dan Forer, Miami, FL
Lead Designer:
Phillip Olmesdahl and Mark Bullivant, SAOTA, Capetown, South Africa
Architect of Record:
Daniel Ritchie, DVice Architecture, Inc., Miami, FL
Interior Design:
Nils Sanderson, OMA, New York, NY
Barry Brodsky, Brodson Construction, Miami, FL
Landscape Architecture:
Raymond Jungles, Jungles Studio, Coconut Grove, FL
Text by:
Marina Brown
(View full image and details by clicking on picture)


As builder of one of the most dramatically conceived residences in Miami Beach, Fla., Barry Brodsky had a few things in mind when he first contemplated building this over 15,000-square-foot spec home on Indian Creek Canal. He knew that it would be contemporary and that it would reflect an owner’s passions. “If the canvas is blank and utterly beautiful, the new owners will be inspired to discover their own passions,” he says. To complete his vision, Brodsky brought together a globally renowned architectural and design team whose experience and aesthetic were as elevated as his own.

Excited to begin their first project in Miami, he chose the award-winning South African architecture firm SAOTA, with lead designers Philip Olmesdahl and Mark Bullivant, and to stage the interiors, furniture designer Paulo Bacchi, CEO of Brazilian furniture leader Artefacto. “SAOTA, the lead architectural firm on the project, ‘got it’ immediately,” Brodsky says. Their linear thematic and open-air approach, exuded the design qualities the builder was looking for. Bacchi, too, was comfortable with the spare lines, extraordinary volume and shared emphasis on the outdoors and interiors that the architecture would create. “For us, it doesn’t matter if we are designing a mansion or a micro apartment … it is crucial for us to create a space that embraces who lives in it,” he says.

Set on a relatively narrow lot facing a busy Miami street, the design of the seven bedroom home required the most attention to its limitations of space, privacy and noise control. “This was done through a buffering courtyard framework and a series of internal courtyards that expand the interior and invite the outside in,” Brodsky says. “It is as if the dwelling is surrounded by several small parks, intimate and expansive at the same time.” A collaboration of architecture and lighting designs by Lux Populi allow for exterior natural illumination and a subtle internal glow. Lights on pillars cached in ceilings and positioned at the base of walls, all provide for expanses of uniform lighting as well as directional focus.

What Brodsky had in mind when he envisioned this residence was not only interest in detail and craftsmanship, but in making it an enjoyable place for hosting large or small gatherings. Outdoor areas are tailor-made for sunbathing by the pool, dining and relaxing in the shade. Included on the property are a few surprises. Among them, a 34-foot-long polished concrete waterslide. “Who doesn’t like a waterslide?” the builder says. The home incorporates a sense of Miami into every detail. “Incorporating Miami’s ‘robust’ hurricane code compliant products into the building elegantly was our greatest challenge on this project — but one which I feel we have met well,” Bullivant says.

The living room, dining area, kitchen and breakfast spaces are essentially one. United by gray limestone flooring, subtle distinctions in the ceiling and Bacchi’s adept arrangement of furnishings can accommodate larger groups, but also make it a comfortable place for two. Extraneous visual disturbances were avoided and only an occasional table lamp can be found, while chandeliers are few.

Though the palette may be monochromatic, both the architect and designer have gently stimulated the senses through the use of organic textures, especially wood and stone. The custom centerpiece of the living room is Artefacto’s “Milpa” cocktail table, an incredible piece that seems to sprout from its glass base. “We designed the rest of the room around it,” Bacchi says. “Sourced from Brazilian oak, we love how it keeps its organic shape … as if we just picked it from nature, polished and placed it.”

The dramatic atrium is on view from the breakfast area, where Artefacto’s glass “Moon” dining table and “Sammy” dining chairs lend the perfect seat to view a contemporary sculpture in the verdant courtyard. “Its extra large size and curvy shape offsets the linear design of the home’s architecture,” Bacchi says. Just steps into the kitchen, multiple ovens and sinks, and sleek walnut cabinetry make food preparation and creating gourmet meals a breeze.

Since a home of this size is built for entertaining on a grand scale, the open dining area set within an interior atrium features a custom monolithic dining table designed by Artefacto. The table accommodates 16 comfortably and is topped with a gold-flecked Calacatta marble that reflects light from floor-to-ceiling windows. “The introduction of the interior atrium allows for optimum sunlight,” Brodsky says. “With the reflections and what could be called curtains of glass, the effect at night is truly mesmerizing.”

The dining table competes for attention with another immense design feature — the stairway. Not content for its steps to simply lead from one level to another, Brodsky specified a “sculptural” element to its functionality. “The ‘structural resolution’ of the stairway was the primary challenge in designing this home,” Bullivant says. Steel supports are cantilevered from concrete walls and topped with walnut treads. Adding to the drama in the home’s entry, concrete walls are “excavated” at their bases, allowing room for upward facing, but indirect illumination.

Just like theater designers, the builder’s vision, the architect’s expertise and the designer’s dressing of the “set” all worked together on the smallest detail to the most vitally important details. “We wanted to maintain the sense of openness in every aspect — creating unobstructed vistas from one part of the house to another,” Brodsky says.

There is little doubt that the efforts of this talented team produced a vast contemporary residence that is at the same time, both jaw-dropping and livable.