Miami is a stage from which renown personalities continuously come and go; a city that sees the rebirth of countless of shows and innovative exhibitions which ultimately must come to an end, leaving behind a remarkable glimpse of a different reality. Nonetheless, what always remains after all these things are gone is the setting itself: the personalized environment that has been carefully constructed throughout the years. While looking with wonder upon the towering buildings, the turning glass structures and their contemporary interiors one should recognize that the masters of this stage are actually the architects and designers who transform the modern landscape we come to know today as Miami.
Within this changing environment the spotlight is constantly shifting from one figure to the next, today it remains fixed upon none other than Kobi Karp, an award-winning member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Interior Design. For the past twenty years his firm, Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design, has exhibited its expertise and creative talent with one of a kind projects ranging from mixed-use high-rise commercial properties to residential and multifamily structures. His team, just like a crew of skilled performers, has developed unparalleled works all over the globe in areas like the Caribbean (extending all the way to the far East), the Black Sea Region, throughout the Gulf and in the Middle East. Since its establishment in 1996, the firm has followed a collaborative method based on the clear communication with its clients and a respect for the environment and historical context in which the projects are located.
The contemporary designs leave traces of Karp’s professionalism and distinctive eye for detail, however, they also merge this with the individual traits, desires and needs of the clients. His restoration techniques allow the each project to respect the surroundings by continuing the strand left by previous aesthetics and combining it with the company’s own contemporary ideas. “As interior architects our approach to design is exclusively focused on how the aesthetics and organization of a space can reflect a project’s image, improve efficiency and productivity and create visual and mood-heightened appeal.”- Kobi Karp
Some examples of this are the famous works such as the One Hotel South Beach, Gateway at Wynwood, Cadillac Courtyard Miami and the H&M in Miami Beach.
The One Hotel
The One Hotel rising above Collins Avenue features 163 residential units brimming with the latest luxuries that efficient and graceful design has to offer. The building takes inspiration from the mesmerizing sights of the nearby beachfront by imitating the playful movements of the waves with smooth and flexible driftwood furnishings. The open structure provided by private terraces, extensive windows, sliding glass doors and ocean-view swimming pools allows the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay and Miami’s colorful skyline to permeate the interiors of this hotel. Each room encapsulates residents in an organic atmosphere crafted with driftwood frames, lavish beds with cotton sheets fit for royalty, and live edge wood desks that complement the wrap-around daybed couch in a soft tone of creamy white just like surrounding walls.
These nature-inspired interiors simulate the tranquil sensations of a private retreat with all the commodities of an urban lifestyle; including a 40,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, fine dining opportunities, boutiques and shopping areas and concierge services. All spaces, regardless of their function, follow closely the guidelines of a zen minimalist style of décor that removes any unnecessary distractions by replacing opulence with the modern simplicity of wooden furniture, clear tones, soft textures and gentle white lighting that imitates the natural sunlight. Within this balanced composition the only element that stands out is the vivid arrangement of plants and flowers which bring some of the tropical liveliness of the environment indoors. This is precisely the image that Kobi Karp and his team strive for in their work developing original spaces that align to the needs of their customers and coexist harmoniously with their surroundings.
Gateway at Wynwood
The famous Wynwood Art District is known for the influential designs, art collections and outstanding architecture that its streets display. Among these prized jewels the Gateway mix-use building stands out for its dynamic composition and the residential, office and commercial destinations it offers. Located at the meeting point between 29th Street and North Miami Avenue, its dazzling form of superimposed sliding floor plates connects both sectors in a graceful show of futuristic elegance dressed in metallic tones. The twelve floors of commercial and office space are shaded by a floor to ceiling aluminum framing system that captures the natural sunlight across its surface, converting it into an amalgam of dazzling colors that are reflected like modern versions of the Northern Lights. Meanwhile, the interiors will display some of Miami’s artistic talent through the local artworks that are destined to adorn the garage façade. The overall project offers citizens 220,000 square feet of offices and 25,900 square of retail that promise to bring luxury, pioneering design and new trends to the brimming Wynwood District.
Cadillac Courtyard Miami Beach
This oceanfront hotel seems to have been inspired by Mediterranean muses who weaved the elements of their Olympic home with the stately Art Deco architecture that characterizes South Beach Miami. Additionally, the tranquility and mesmerizing beauty of the turquoise seaside has become an ever-present element that visitors can access to with just a few steps. The building is conveniently located in mid Miami Beach, a mile away from the golf club and two miles from Lincoln Road Mall where guests can bask in all the attractions and sophistication that the city has to offer. Nonetheless, those who prefer to stay within the comfort of their hotel can also relish the clear views of the Atlantic Ocean from their extensive balconies. All fourteen floors of contemporary guestrooms are well equipped with glossy, geometric furniture, delicate industrial lighting and simple accessories that follow the guidelines of a mid-century modern style of interior décor.
Part of the Cadillac Courtyard’s appeal is due to its history; it is the foundational structure what gives it a particular liveliness. As a matter of fact, the hotel came forth from the renovation of a 1940 Art Deco building that to this day still features the polychromatic terrazzo floors and regal looking lobby columns that retain the cultivated beauty of the past. Furthermore, this modern sanctuary is also shaded by the vibrant flora that comprises the outdoor-pool landscape which resonates harmoniously with the tropical ecosystem upon which the city is built. Kobi Karp and his team captured the essence of a European retreat and merged its commodities with the vivacity that encompasses Miami’s Art Deco culture.
The H&M at Lincoln road is another example of the perfect symbiosis that can exist between architecture and fashion; both types of design are exterior images that embellish or reflect what they shelter inside. In the case of the brand, its accessible and varied clothing provides people the opportunity to display their individuality with the creativity they please, however, the unique building that houses this store allows each person to embark on this quest within a one-of-a-kind environment that enhances the shopping experience. The retail store is not only located at the center of the busy Lincoln Road but it also occupies the space of what used to be the historic Lincoln Theatre. The renovated building was masterfully transformed with modern interiors dressed in glass walls, pastel-toned lighting, dramatic white drapes and a giant screen that takes over the center stage. Nevertheless, despite the multiple adjustments and the drastic change in the building’s function, Kobi Karp was careful to preserve the original structure and classical value of the theatre.
The architect and designer’s respect for the context of this sight has allowed a fraction of the city’s past to be sheltered from the overwhelming and drastic changes that dominate the current cityscape. Customers are immediately welcomed by the sight of a grand staircase that leads to a sweeping interior balcony. Extending above this majestic sight a classic Greek proscenium arch separates what used to be the stage from the auditorium that is now filled with a myriad of colors and fabrics ready to be worn. These features make it easy to imagine the building in its past glory and to become transported to a time of luxurious evenings dedicated to entertainment and the striking display of elegance.
The tour of Miami’s diverse and evolving stage following the steps of Kobi Karp and the traces of his unique works has no end. The show in itself never stops as the city continues to grow and new personalities enter the screen. Citizens can anticipate Karp’s next creation with the certainty that it will only enhance the city and the lives of its inhabitants. Today is the perfect moment to celebrate the growing achievements for Miami’s history epitomized in design.