Nine iconic, life-size photographs of celebrities by renowned British photographer Terry O’Neill fill the sales office for The Bond on Brickell, a condominium planned for Miami.
Down the street, shoppers eyeing the Related Group’s Paraiso Bay and SLS Brickell projects are greeted by a huge, Philippe Starck-designed outdoor duck sculpture. And inside the sales center, they are treated to colorful artistic eye candy, including a hand-stitched animal-skin wall rug by Argentine-born artist Agustina Woodgate.
Across town in Doral, huge public art installations are in the works to define Codina Partners’ new multi-use development, whose highlights include the city’s first high-rise condos.
That art — and scores of other paintings, sculptures and installations — aren’t just on temporary display. Once the dust settles on the towering condo projects, they will remain — or reappear, filling lobbies, pool decks and other common areas of pricey properties.
Across South Florida, real estate developers are increasingly attaching extraordinary — and valuable — art to their designs, creating liveable, virtual museums as a way to market high-end condos to wealthy buyers.
Brokers are catching on, too.
Aligning with star architects, choosing uniquely designed furniture, inviting curators in for talks, have all become part of the gentrification — or art-ification — of South Florida, propelled by the success of Art Basel Miami Beach, which returns for its 12th year Dec. 5-8.
“Great cities have great art,” said Carlos Rosso, president of the condo division of the Related Group, which has eight condo projects underway in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, all adorned with art, murals, video installations and sculptures. “We think art gives another dimension to life.”
While developers for years have paired exceptional art with luxury real estate in South Florida, the combination lately has been elevated to a whole new level.
And customers are demanding it.
Ultra-wealthy condo buyers want to be ensconced amid art from the moment they drive up, all the way to their front doors, said Mark Zilbert, president and chief executive of Zilbert International Realty, a Miami Beach-based firm that specializes in high-end properties.
“The idea is that the second you arrive at your building, this is the theme: that art is important,” Zilbert said.
Brazilians, Italians and Russians, in particular — who are buying up South Florida condos briskly — find art especially important, he said.
“Some appreciate art,” Zilbert said, “and, those who are new to wealth, as long as they know it’s expensive — they love it.”
What’s more, for developers, art adds to the value of real estate.
“Every building I can think of that has invested in extraordinary art in their public areas has never had a problem selling and never had a problem reselling.” And, said Zilbert, such buildings “tend to have the highest market value.”
Indeed, the intertwining of art and real estate is furthering the allure of South Florida, which is rising in international appeal among the glitterati, spurred by artsy, modern skyscrapers, and fueled by wealthy foreign buyers’ desire to invest in the United States.