Of-the-moment fashion, centuries-old traditions, priceless artifacts—this is the world of Alan Faena.
Faena on the terrace of the Bazaar overlooking his universe.
Since it opened in late 2015, Faena Hotel Miami Beach has become more than just simply a hotel or luxurious place to meet friends for dinner or a cocktail. With its keen focus on the arts, it’s become a truly dynamic hub of creativity, where presenting the work of compelling artists in a wide variety of media, like sculpture and performance, is a key priority.
The latest addition to the hotel’s inspiring blueprint is Faena Bazaar, an indoor set of boutiques with an eclectic selection of fashion brands for men and women. The Bazaar’s assortment of shops will rotate regularly, always including pieces by international designers and plenty of unintimidating, stylish items that lend themselves to impulse purchases. In addition to its stores, there’s an art gallery on the main floor; upstairs is a warm and inviting space designated for talks and gatherings, mostly focused on wellness and spirituality. It’s all housed in a multistory building that’s sleek but welcoming, once the home of a Roy France-designed hotel and now translated into a decidedly modern space by OMA, the architecture firm founded by Rem Koolhaas.
“Faena is about offering an experience, a 360,” explains Alan Faena, the founder of his namesake business. “It’s not only about services or a hotel or food or healing; it’s about everything—it’s how you can approach someone from different points of view. Fashion and curated retail—it’s part of the same process of this big project that is the Faena Miami. What makes it unique is the approach to the different ways of life and what’s going on today.”
Alan Faena in the courtyard of the Bazaar.
The mix of goods is eclectic and appealing; it includes jewelry and accessories as well as clothing. Standouts in the Bazaar’s first iteration include Pedro Garcia’s chic and comfortable shoes, Rosa Cha’s refined bathing suits, Ximena Kavalekas’ handbags and clutches in python and water snake, diamonds by Lera Jewels and earthy rings and earrings by Kimberly McDonald. The curation has been done in collaboration with Maris Collective, the tastemaker store with locations in states like Hawaii and California.
Although he’s best known these days as a hotelier, Alan Faena’s involvement in fashion is nothing new: He began his professional life as a fashion designer in his native Argentina. “My background, being in the fashion world, made me who I am today,” he says. “That attention to detail is a very important part. That gave me the eye, being in that world so long.”
His experiences, both professional and personal, are the focus of Faena’s new book, Alchemy & Creative Collaboration: Architecture, Design, Art, which was recently published by Rizzoli Publications. As with everything he’s been involved with, the project isn’t conventional; instead of being a standard autobiography, it’s a highly visual memoir with vivid images of the many diverse things he’s worked on during a long career, from clothing to properties to the verdant greens he planted during a period in which he focused mostly on gardening.
“When you see all the stories put together, I think that you understand who the person is behind them,” he says, “and that it’s not about a fashion brand or being a gardener or about hospitality—it’s about a way to approach life that’s in a direct line, going in one direction from the start, but also always with a creative mind that would go for his dream.”
Faena wears a robe handmade for him in Peru.
Dung Ngo, the Rizzoli editor-at-large who worked with Faena on the book, was impressed by the passion and ingenuity that is the common thread of all Faena’s projects. “He’s never played by the rules,” Ngo says. “Everything to him has to be absolutely personal and true to himself. In the real true sense, he’s a visionary, meaning that he’s followed his vision.”
One physical realization of that vision, of course, is the Faena’s complex of buildings on Collins Avenue, including the Bazaar. “I’ve always said that I didn’t make the Faena to make a hotel,” Alan Faena says. “It was about all the experiences of life.”