The Ultimate Parking Space
The latest luxury cars sit pretty at 1111 Lincoln Road for an Ocean Drive photoshoot.
May 10, 2013
For our April issue car feature, “Speed of Sight,” Ocean Drive brought some of the most sophisticated vehicle brands together to present their latest ultra-luxury, exclusive models. But photographing these mammoths of opulence presented an interesting challenge. A group composed of a Bentley Continental GT Speed, an Audi R8, a Porsche 911 Carrera, and a Maserati GT Sport would swallow an ordinary studio space. They required an equally elevated level of luxury—so Ocean Drive turned to 1111 Lincoln Road.
Barely three years old, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed structure rising above Lincoln Road and Alton Road has already become a signature landmark in Miami Beach, with its stark elegance and dramatic lines. “I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose the sleek surfaces and lines of these incredible cars against the raw interior of the building,” says award-winning architectural photographer Claudia Uribe, who shot these vehicles on the garage’s seventh floor.
That level in the structure, with its 34-foot-high ceilings, 25,000 square feet of space, and sweeping views of Miami Beach, doubles as a highly coveted event location—and Ocean Drive has not been the first to make use of it to highlight luxury autos. Ferrari hosted an exclusive party there during Art Basel Miami Beach 2011, where it unveiled the 458 Spider; days later, BMW launched its line of electric cars, including the BMW i3 and BMW i8 Concept cars there. The space, in fact, is a favorite of the Art Basel crowd, hosting the most exclusive events during the art week; this last December, the Moncler 60th anniversary dinner—hands-down the most sought-after invitation during Art Basel—was held there.
The Ocean Drive shoot took two days, with two cars being shot each morning. Once the vehicles arrived at the garage, they were driven to the seventh floor and positioned accordingly, with the team of 1111 Lincoln Road making sure that every need for the shoot was met, including preparation of the surrounding areas and helping to coordinate the safe transport of the vehicles, as well as any additional catering needs. The end result? A stunning eight pages of glossy cars, powerful interiors, and Miami flavor. 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Ste. 760, 305-538-9320, ext. 101
Rolls-Royce Wraith Debuts in Geneva
The British auto brand takes a 1938 model for a modern spin.
March 13, 2013
It’s symptomatic for Rolls-Royce to look backwards before moving forward when the time for contemplation of a new model is imminent. With a storied history—founder Charles Stewart Rolls was in his twenties when he co-founded the company and, as a young pilot, became the first man to double cross the English Channel non-stop—and a reservoir of creativity at its disposal, the British automaker proudly staged the world debut of its dynamic new Wraith recently at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show.
Wraith, titled after a mystical Scottish spirit, represents new potential direction for Rolls-Royce and extends its level of luxury, refinement, and hand-craftsmanship, but also presents unique positioning defined by power, style, and drama. Originally conceived in 1938, the rebirth of the current fastback and its perfectly engineered features and technical contour introduces a younger demographic to the Rolls-Royce brand. The sleek and vigorous Wraith is purely driver oriented with its Ghost-based 6.6-liter V12 that now outputs 624-horsepower (European spec), allowing it to reach 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. With this in mind, the majestic gran turismo becomes the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the history of the company.
Hallmark coach doors open into the Wraith’s rich cabin, which is composed of Phantom-grade leathers and Canadel Panelling wood veneers. A bespoke touch of imagination is displayed by way of the lustrous night roof lining, conceived by the hand stitching of 1,340 fibre optic lamps. For enthusiastic owners who position themselves directly behind the wheel, innovative technology dubbed Satellite Aided Transmission applies GPS mapping algorithms to forecast the driver’s next move using current location-base and drive characteristics. The system then pre-chooses the most suitable gear from the 8-speed automatic ZF transmission appropriate for the impending topography ahead.
Expect deliveries by the end of the year to early 2014 with a current European price of €245K. Further pricing details for additional markets such as the U.S. will be revealed at a later date. It’s currently a moment of introspection for Rolls-Royce as they position themselves for supplementary growth, heightened levels of performance, and inflated expectations from their loyalists.
Brokers Discuss Internet Impact on Real Estate
Veronica Escobedo and Felipe Azenha discuss the Internet’s impact on the real estate industry.
February 25, 2013
Felipe Azenha and Veronica Escobedo discuss the booming sales in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
As the Internet swoops over the real estate market, it’s influencing everything from consumer access to information to how brokerage firms handle their marketing budgets, making it a crucial game changer for one of South Florida’s most important industries.
VERONICA ESCOBEDO, chief marketing officer for International Sales Group: What’s an immediate change created by the Internet?
FELIPE AZENHA, business development lead for StreetEasy South Florida, a real estate listings site: Consumers are very hungry for information, so they’re educating themselves online before even contacting a broker. They’re doing research, ensuring that the building and the neighborhood are something they’re interested in.
VE: We definitely have a more empowered generation who do their homework before heading out to see a property. There are mobile apps and sites where you can find market trends, and innovative Web programs such as 3-D interactive property tools are a great way to showcase a project. I deal with many foreign buyers, so we rely heavily on the Internet to promote to outside areas, especially Latin America. There’s a lot out there, so brokers have to compete to get the info out the fastest and most efficiently.
FA: People value their time, so we try to make it easy for them. For preconstruction projects, we’ll have videos, floor plans, and high-resolution photos available for people to view. They can just go to one place online to find everything they need.
VE: Another important aspect is social media. We work with developers and realtors who ask, “Is social media worth investing in? How do we quantify it?” But it isn’t something you can quantify. It’s about building better relationships with consumers and keeping them updated on what’s new.
FA: Overall, has the Internet helped sales?
VE: Yes, because you have savvier home buyers with strong ideas versus the broker driving them around everywhere to no avail.
FA: In a sense, the Internet has made the buying transaction even quicker because consumers already know what they want and what they should be paying. It smooths out the process and makes it more transparent—although it isn’t like the Internet is going to replace brokers. We’ll always need them to handhold consumers through the purchasing procedure and provide localized expertise about the neighborhood, property taxes, insurance rates, and other specifics.
VE: With traffic stats, the Internet provides valuable information to us, too.
FA: Considering the traffic on our site, I can say that approximately 60 percent of consumers that purchase real estate in Miami are foreign—mostly Latin Americans (Venezuelans, Argentines, Colombians, Mexicans, and Brazilians). But the percentage of international buyers [just] in the downtown and beach areas is probably closer to 90 percent. Canadians are also big buyers, but they tend to buy in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
VE: I work with marketing budgets for different developers, and they’re spending thousands of dollars on the Internet—websites mostly—whereas five years ago, before the bust, we spent a majority of money on printed materials. Now we save on printing and mailing costs, and it’s more effective. Today, most of our business comes from the Internet, including leads via websites, e-mail marketing campaigns, and more. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, Florida is the top market for international buyers, so it’s crucial for us to reach them. That means spending time on things like search engine optimization (SEO), which can get tricky because you have to find the perfect keywords. (Some regions in Brazil may have different dialects, while countries in Latin America speak different versions of Spanish.)
FA: Anyone in real estate who doesn’t embrace technology is going to have a tough time. Consumers want brokers with a strong track record, and they can find that online.
photography by jim arbogast
Samsung Simplifies the Art Deal
Miami's art scene embraces the functionality of Samsung’s popular phones.
January 30, 2013
One thing that this past Art Basel revealed about the changing art landscape is the way galleries and artists exhibit their work to collectors with mobile devices—as we will continue to see at this month’s Art Wynwood (February 14–18). With limited space in their booths and minimal ability to transport actual art from such far-flung places as Beijing, Buenos Aires, Moscow, and Paris, gallerists are depending on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 to access their network of photographs and fine-art files remotely with true-to-life color and resolution.
The GS3’s 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display allows for sharper text, brighter whites, and vivid/true colors, making it easy to show clients artworks that are not at the fair—a feature that is further enhanced by the slightly larger Note 2, which has a 5.5-inch screen. During last month’s Art Basel, nearly every gallery handled deals in this manner, eliminating the need to travel with notebooks and laptops. Other applications include the ability to showcase visual art projects and pulling art contracts.
Fendi Wows at Design Miami
Among Design Miami’s most memorable exhibitions was Fendi’s “Transformations.”
January 30, 2013
Fendi’s “Transformations” exhibition at Design Miami.
This year's Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami events were met with extraordinary support from some of fashion’s biggest power players. Chosen for his brilliance in synthesizing fashion and art, Belgian industrial designer Maarten de Ceulaer led Fendi’s annual Design Miami art series. A tribute to the label’s modern geometric prints, the remarkable exhibit reimagined the Italian fashion house’s striped “pequin” motif, converting the iconic pattern from archival textiles into three-dimensional objects. Lacquered wood boards and tree stumps resembled benches, tables, and chairs, and were decorated with handmade leather straps. “These are definitely more functional works than former collaborations,” Silvia Fendi says. The installation’s identification with Fendi was clear, yet its abstract interpretation of the pequin design blurred the boundaries between the luxurious and the functional. The result? A winning combination of fashion and art. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-861-7114
Annie Leibovitz Retrospective
Leibovitz turns her lens on conceptual self-portraitist Cindy Sherman as part of her retrospective exhibition.
January 07, 2013
Cindy Sherman, New York City, 1992, by Annie Leibovitz.
Annie Leibovitz’s reputation is an odd one. The best-known portraitist in America today—from her 1970s photos for Rolling Stone to her current work for Vanity Fair—Leibovitz has several shots as iconic as the celebrities they depict. Yet what deeper truths does she reveal? “It is visual shorthand,” argues The New York Times critic Ginia Bellafante. “Ms. Leibovitz shows up to merchandise the prevailing image of whomever she’s shooting—often wittily, almost always arrestingly—but rarely to get beyond it.” That hasn’t always been so—at least not when Leibovitz steps back from the role of all-arranging overseer into that of silently observing photojournalist. Her off-the-cuff 1970s shots of Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, and the Rolling Stones are both masterful and revealing. Similarly, the best work in a new retrospective show of hers at the Norton Museum of Art—from 1968 photos of US soldiers to a 1988 portrait of the Reverend Al Sharpton having his hair styled—are the ones that are least staged and most natural. Indeed, Sharpton should have been the model for a 1992 portrait of self-disguising artist Cindy Sherman. Instead, Leibovitz wryly placed Sherman in a lineup with eight other look- alikes. “I wanted to photograph all of them in the same outfit Cindy was wearing when she met me,” Leibovitz recalls in her Annie Leibovitz at Work monograph of that initial informal encounter at Sherman’s downtown New York loft. “But it turned out that the simple white shirt was from Agnes B, the pants were by some Italian designer, and the shoes were Manolo Blahnik. It would have cost too much to dress everyone like that, so we went to the Gap for the pants and shirts.” As eye-grabbing as Leibovitz’s final portrait may be, her throwaway detail tells us far more about Sherman’s personal transformation from struggling bohemian to art world star. “Annie Leibovitz” opens January 17 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-832-5196; norton.org
photography courtesy of annie leibovitz and the norton museum of art
2013 Audi S8: An “S” for the Best
Rev up the new year in a car that perfectly pairs style and power.
January 04, 2013
Audi aficionados knew exactly what was expected when the German purveyor of luxury cars announced their new line of “S” performance vehicles including the S6, S7 and S8, which is the company’s four-door breadwinner in terms of power output and performance. But how could that be with the fierce and mighty V10 being supplanted for a smaller, more efficient twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8? It’s called German evolution.
Audi changed degrees with enhancements to their renowned quattro all-wheel drive technology, presented fascinating new products like the Q7, R8, and A7, enriched their interior cabins from an already stellar platform, and introduced magnificent engineering technology to ensure that the driving experience is pleasurable and safe. Now, the 2013 S8 is a new topic of conversation. The twin-turbo, 4-liter V8 produces 520 horsepower, helping the aluminum space frame go from 0 MPH to 60 MPH in 3.9 seconds. Mate the powerplant with Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with manual shift mode, and the vehicle achieves 15-city MPG and 26-highway MPG. Cylinder on Demand also aids in this mileage by transitioning eight cylinders to four cylinders when full power is not required. For example, fuel reduction at 55 MPH is 12%.
As for the interior, I felt special to say the least as the 22-way, diamond cross-stitched sport seats massaged me pleasantly. My mocha leather cabin was infused with a plethora of carbon fiber to intensify the level of craftsmanship of this German touring sedan, including the gear selector, seatbacks, dash, and center console. As I gripped the thick 3-spoke leather wheel and ignited the red Start/Stop button, the needles on the gauges rotated, the LCD screen rose from its embedded position, and the acoustic lenses from Bang & Olufsen’s big-ticket, concert-themed sound system emerged out of the dash. LED lights can also brighten up the cabin when needed.
Audi Connect, launched in the “A” cars, uses an array of various multi-media technologies along with Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) for driver convenience. MMI is one of the most advanced telematics systems in the auto industry. When inputting the address in the Google Earth navigation system—which displays from the aforementioned LCD screen—superior visual computing takes over and guidance is enhanced by displaying satellite and 3D images of buildings and places of interest, as well as “Street View.” Online searches also come from Google, just as on your smartphone or laptop, and you receive weather, gas prices, RSS news feeds, and sports scores. Speaking of your smartphone, up to eight devices can connect wirelessly and search the web by way of the S8’s T-Mobile-provided hotspot. The first six months of hotspot ownership are free, with a separate monthly fee charged thereafter.
Once you reach your destination and step out to look back at the vehicle, you know you have properly arrived. With a massive grille that dominates the fascia and front air intakes, the larger 21-inch 5-star bladed rims and matching aluminum optic side view mirrors, and quad exhaust, this is not a typical A8 but an “S” driven by the very best. All you need to justify your $110,000 purchase.
SLS App Puts Luxury On Demand
Champagne delivery in 20 minutes or less, minibar cocktail recipes, and more at your fingertips.
December 19, 2012
The buzzy new SLS Hotel South Beach is jumping on the app wagon, unveiling a lifestyle application that can conjure Champagne delivery or a leisurely day planner for hotel guests. The free mobile app can be downloaded on iPhone and Android devices, as well as all SLS Hotel South Beach in-room iPads. In addition to weather updates and travel services, there are three main functions: Shake a Drink, Perfect Day in South Beach, and Bring Me Bubbles. Shake a Drink gives guests a how-to on using minibar ingredients to create world-class cocktails; Bring Me Bubbles promises rush orders of Champagne to suite doorsteps in 20 minutes or less; and Perfect Day in South Beach dons sample itineraries curated by SLS specialists, including one Lenny Kravitz, who helped design the snazzy hotel’s interiors. Get the app here. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-1701
Local Sculptor Bends Gravity
Miami sculptor Sinisa Kukec mines the laws of physics for emotional heft in his newest artworks.
December 03, 2012
A great fortune is a great indentured servant by Sinisa Kukec, 2012
“Instead of fighting gravity, how can I make it work for me?” muses Miami artist Sinisa Kukec. “What kind of accidents can I create?” That’s more than a merely abstract notion for Kukec, as evidenced by several of his pieces in “New Work Miami 2013,” a new group show surveying the Magic City at the Miami Art Museum. The gravity in question takes Kukec’s blend of vibrantly colored epoxies and sends them cascading down like unfurled tongues, draping objects such as a pair of intimately intertwined chairs. The net effect is akin to 3-D updates on Morris Louis’s color-field canvases from the late ’50s and early ’60s—like that fabled painter, Kukec is as interested in the process as in the finished result. It’s an approach that puts him in good company with several of the exhibition’s other studio-oriented artists, including sculptor Loriel Beltran and photographer Odalis Valdivieso—though unlike many of his peers, Kukec doesn’t hide behind postmodern artspeak in explaining his inspirations. One series of his works tackles a subject dear to many artists before the rise of academicism: a broken heart—Kukec’s own in this case, rendered in eye-popping shades via epoxy oozed down a large piece of paper and pooled on a Vaseline-smeared shelf attached at its bottom. Yet for all the pain supposedly channeled there, the end results are downright gorgeous, packing a viscerally pleasing punch that lingers long after you’ve left the museum. How to explain that dichotomy? “I can contradict myself in the same breath,” laughs Kukec. “It’s what being human is all about.” The opening celebration for “New Work Miami 2013” is December 6 at the Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami, 305-375-3000
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF SINISA KUCEK AND SPINELLO PROJECTS
2013 Maserati GranTurismo Sport: Disciplined Advantage
The GranTurismo effectively combines sports car and style.
November 13, 2012
It was a sunny and breezy day in the Sonoma and Napa Valley region of Northern California for a drive in the shapely 2013 GranTurismo Sport by Maserati in Blu Sofisticato. The Italian purist provided highlight after highlight during my enlightened test drive through the vineyards—especially since the coupe speaks elegance and dominance simultaneously.
With uphill bending roads and open straightaways, I was able to truly understand Maserati’s new GT. And that’s just what the car is—a GranTurismo whose mission is not fixated on all-out acceleration or to become a full-fledged sports car, yet hones the ability to go fast intelligently. The GT Sport’s interior focuses on prestige and character rather than urgency, as demonstrated by its supple leathers, refined woods, interchangeable trims, and contrast stitching.
Detail is especially focused in a few key areas. The new steering wheel features deep thumb indentations that allow you to grip the wheel properly. Leather can be selected in any interior hue Maserati offers, while the ring material can be wood, Alcantara, or carbon fiber with Trofeo shift paddles that can be ordered in carbon fiber. The GT Sport’s new leather seats are designed in-house and feature integrated headrests for both front and rear passengers. A Bose audio system and a multi-media system with navigation and Bluetooth complete the technology package.
As for the body, it’s pretty much the same except for a few accent pieces. The rear tail lamps now have smoked lenses, new front parking sensors have been added to the aerodynamically enhanced front end, the headlamps have new LED daytime running lights, and the side grilles have been enlarged.
Under the hood, Maserati’s venerable 4.7-liter V8 remains, but with a slight power increase to 454 horsepower. And although it’s only 10 added horsepower, I certainly felt the difference from 2012’s GranTurismo S—lighter 20-inch Astro rims wrapped in staggered Pirelli P Zero tires offered amazing stability and grip, while specially-designed anodized blue Brembo six-piston calipers provided superb stopping power.
While thoughts of serenity urged me to drive more like a chauffeur, that notion played second fiddle to exploring the depths of the “sports” button while pushing all 454 horses to the limit. See, Maserati’s “sports” engagement alters the vehicle in five key areas simultaneously. They say this one optimal setting works for their customers. Others may beg to differ since drive style is so random from person to person. But whatever your preferred driving style may be, one thing is certain—the GranTurismo effectively combines sports car and style. Pricing starts at $129,500 after a destination and gas-guzzler tax.