Reminiscent of the scene at the end of Wall Street 2 when a huge opulent party is held in New York’s Metropolitan Musuem on the eve of the global economic collapse, the Icon hotel and apartment building in Brickell feels like something from a bygone era.
Supported by a forest of bizarre copper and brass created by designer Philippe Starck, Icon contains some 1500 apartments in three 50 storey towers, a luxury hotel, a rooftop Olympic size swimming pool surrounded by olive trees, spa, movie lounge, poker room etc. etc. Inside, the 3 towers and their interconnecting 15 storey base are fully Starckified with all the designer’s favourite design tropes – gauzey curtains, coloured glass, Old master paintings, vast mirrors, wardrobes etc. all of which are still appealing if perhaps not so inventive all these years after the Delano. Meanwhile the architecture by Arquitectonica is elegantly handled with the large tower masses expressed as smaller subdivided volumes.
Developers Related reportedly spent $1 billion on the project. Starck’s ground floors columns themselves are said to have cost $200,000 each – and there look to be about 50 of them – so that’s $10M without even going inside the building. Not surprisingly given these eye-watering sums and the fact the job completed in 2008 at the worst possible economic moment, the company was forced to turn their property over to the banks - like so many other property speculators in Miami (there have been more foreclosures here than anywhere else in the United States). That said, the apartments are now selling again - 80% to buyers from South America