SheltonMindel Designs a Miami Home Fit for Beach Days
Every story has a backstory. The Florida condominium Interior Design Hall of Fame member Lee F. Mindel shares with his work/life partner, José Marty, is a tale of lucky strikes emerging from downbeat situations. The plot unspools as the SheltonMindel founder and architectural designer were awaiting takeoff from New York to Miami for a project meeting, when their client canceled last-minute. They flew south anyway, then were forced to quarantine there as COVID hit. The city was effectively dead, Mindel recalls. “It was doom and gloom.”
Nonetheless, while there, the pair decided to check out Eighty Seven Park, Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s under-construction residential tower in Miami Beach, and impulsively bought an ocean-view 1,700-square-foot unit with 1,400 square feet of balcony space. A week from move-in, however, a flood from upstairs devastated the new purchase. Mindel interpreted the event as another stroke of fortune: “It gave us the opportunity to improve the floor plan.”
Three principles drove the reworked two-bedroom scheme. Walls and partitions float clear of the perimeter, creating “a necklace of light,” Mindel explains. Architectural ceiling elements and furnishings—such as Francois Bauchet’s alabaster-hued cocktail table in the living area, chosen for its “Morris Lapidus influence”—curve in homage to the building’s shape. The third design tenet was contextual color coding, which meant bathing the ocean-fronting side in watery azure tones and the garden-facing rooms in verdant tints. (For an example of the latter, see the main bedroom, with vintage back-painted glass panels designed by Max Ingrand in the 1970’s.) The shimmering palette changes with surf and sky reflections.
Given the Mindel’s art-world ties—he is a chairman of the Design Basel and Design Miami vetting committees and owns Galerie56 in TriBeCa—it’s no surprise the place hosts enviable pieces. Though precious price-wise, they portray a breezy insouciance. A neon “MIA” at entry might be taken for the city’s nickname but is really part of a 1940’s sign sourced in Helsinki. Furthering the upbeat vibe there is Kate Shepherd’s Endless Summer, in Miami Vice hot-pink tones. Hanging on the floor-to-ceiling oak divider separating living and guest areas, Gisela Colon’s dimensional acrylic sculpture resembles “something you might see under the sea,” Mindel says. A diminutive Josef Albers work rests oh-so-casually on the oak kitchen’s counter. Big and bold in the adjoining dining zone are Domingos Tótora’s pressed-paper circular construction and a piece by Seymour Fogel, and the beachy guest chamber displays Rupert Deese’s oil-on-plywood disc recalling raked sand. Even the main bathroom gets the art treatment: Nightshop’s round P.O.V. in resin, acrylic, and ink.
A Miami Abode Designed to Spotlight Art and Color
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