Opening a hotel in any city, never mind one with so many distinct options as Miami, and in particular, the recently booming Brickell neighborhood, is a big undertaking. For sbe, the LA-based hospitality company, the attempt to set themselves apart came not just in the expected amenities and luxury brandishes, including dining options from James Beard Award-winning chefs José Andrés and Michael Schwartz, but with an eye toward eye-catching design. That effort was headed up by the team at Arquitectonica, including Philippe Starck, the French creator, designer and architect.
Asked to explain the overall aesthetic he was aiming for with the design at the grand opening of the SLS Brickell earlier this month, Starck called it “Timeless elegance with a small drop of humor, a drop of poetry, a huge drop of life.”
“And in this SLS, we don’t speak about interior design but about art, which is better because art is more timeless and universal than interior design.” That’s true of Brickelle, in particular, he went on. “Miami is an exploding and boiling bucket of creative energy. Brickell is the center of it. Living in Brickell is like being seated on a volcano of art and humanity.”
The addition of the SLS to the neighborhood certainly adds an explosion of color to an already vibrant area. Especially the striking, rainbow facade.
Certainly comfort and convenience are usually tops on most people’s lists when it comes to selecting a hotel, but immersed in the atmosphere of the hotel, it’s hard to not feel like you’re staying inside a moving art installation. That’s a feeling that begins before you even walk in, with artist Katja Loher’s “When Will the Sea Swallow the Land” video piece greeting you over head. The series of video islands give off a feeling of being submerged, as if you’re transported somewhere else entirely.
Inside the gleaming lobby, Bernardi Roig’s “Man of Light”, a colorless, featureless form hauling a series of fluorescent lights behind him is a curious, but intriguing sight. Across the lobby a giant video screen featuring cartoon monkeys that interact with guests and attempt to mimic their movements provides a diversion while checking in.
“I want people to come back home and feel full of energy, of creativity, of revolutionary ideas, ready to build the next world because everything they felt, heard, ate and saw at SLS were fertile surprises,” Starke goes on. “SLS is not design, SLS is creativity.”