BY SUZY BUCKLEY
At the entrance, Studio B Design’s Anna Busta adorned the walls with black-lacquered diamond-shaped panels with slivers of color-shifting LED lights shining through. In the main room, she blanked the walls with a series of tiled diamonds—a mix of mirrored, dark-mirrored, black-lacquered and gold-shaded. Each individual diamond combines to create a large diamond pattern, setting off a centerpiece vintage gold sofa inspired by Le Corbusier and a dramatic ceiling made of fine copper mesh. “There’s nothing ‘nice’ about it,” Roman insists. “It’s sexy and hot but kind of chic and elegant at the same time. It looks like Saddam Hussein’s private nightclub. It’s classy opulence—very rich and gaudy.”
Wall—open just Friday and Saturday nights for now—has a small, 300-person capacity, reminiscent of the VIP area Le Carré at the Byblos’ Le Cave du Roi in Saint-Tropez. “It’s where everybody wants to be, where every table is somebody,” Eric says. To round out the W South Beach nightlife experience, both groups run the Wet pool bar and The Grove, a South-of-France-inspired lush outdoor garden lounge designed by landscape architect Paula Hayes. Siervo and Masri run Mediterranean restaurant Solea and Living Room, the cozy lobby side bar awash in lots of marble and brass, bedecked with tall, velvet curtains, white alpaca Mongolian fur chairs and white pony rugs splashed with gold paint.
KNR and The Opium Group have orchestrated South Beach’s latest one-stop-shopping, after-dark mecca—something we really haven’t seen since the Shore Club’s Nobu, Skybar and Red Room trifecta monopolized nights in the early ’00s. But will it lead to cannibalism of the groups’ other hotspots, especially in an economy where partygoers are picking and choosing like never before? “Whether it’s us or somebody else who opens a place, people will always want the new and trendy,” Roman explains. “It’s a new era,” adds Eric. “This business is working and our other businesses are working. Sure, maybe people aren’t buying a new apartment, car, boat, yacht or plane, but they can still buy themselves a bottle of Champagne. And that’s all we care about, you know?”
photohraph by mateo garcia
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.