Well, I must say, the Restoration Hardware store in West Palm Beach is something to see.  Say what you will about Gary Friedman and his Restoration Hardware mega brand (It is a controversial topic, especially among designers), but the new 26 million dollar, 80,000 square foot store welcoming people driving down Okeechobee Blvd. is a sight to behold.  It sits on the median so you literally cannot miss this mansion like structure.  It is a perfect showplace for the all of RH's lines in the interior, exterior furniture, lighting and accessories categories. 

ph:Palm Beach magazine

Restoration Hardware was required by law to include 1% of the cost of building to public art.  It satisfied this by having street artist  RETNA  create a hieroglyphic/calligraphy style graphic mural on the entire eastern facade of the building.  RETNA's contribution is valued at $500,000.00

I did enjoy how beautiful the store is.  You know what you are getting with the RH name.  What was off putting to me, however, was the $8.00 valet fee.  I really felt nickeled and dimed.  I inquired as to whether they would waive the fee if you bought something or ate in the restaurant and was told no. That stuck with me!  There are no other parking options because of the store's location.  I thought a better business practice would be to pick up the parking and customers could just tip the valets.  It's the little things!

We went for lunch and stayed for the shopping.  The Rooftop Restaurant was worth the trip.  They do not take reservations so put your name in first, then shop while you wait.  Since retail is becoming very experiential, you can have a full meal, coffee or drinks as you slide into one of their cloud sofas and admire the view.  I wanted a coveted seat by the open door with a beautiful view straight down the  boulevard.  It really is a spectacular greenhouse space.  The center fountain made me feel as if I was in a far off place.

Ascending and descending the stairs felt quite glamorous.  A "hall of mirrors" effect  was felt, as the faceted points of light and color bounced off the reflective surfaces, as the sun shone brightly from above.

Every vignette from every vantage point had a wow factor.

This view highlights the massive water wall opposite the front door as you drive in.

The public restroom wasn't bad either.

"While we enable our customers to shop online, we’re physical creatures," Friedman says. "We still like to congregate. We like to see each other so we don’t feel alone. Our vision is to bring back the tradition of great gathering spaces. When I was a kid, we’d go to the cafĂ© at the department store, and that was a highlight for me. It was such an experience, and I think that’s been abandoned. The sense of humanity in physical retail has been lost, and we’d like to bring back that spirit of congregation."  
  I can get behind that Gary Friedman!

Meatpacking district ~ you're next!

 photo 1,10 via RH, photo 2 Palm Beach magazine

Exceeding Expectations

When I met with Hamilton Aguair and then did a little research for my post, I knew had to do a separate story on the home that now house's the giant balloon dog that is part of Hamilton's 99% series. ( See last post )

This home is so unique, so unbelievable, so Miami!  Built on spec by Barry Brodsky, a luxury home builder.  The over the top and oh so tasteful 18,679 square foot home features furniture by Artefacto, one of my favorite design stores here.

It is a completely indoor/outdoor experience with an emphasis on fun. An entertainer's dream, a buyer looking at a home of this caliber expects all kinds of bells and whistles!

I immediately noticed the calming quality of the neutral interior with high end finishes.

” Brodsky has studied kabbalah and meditation, which has helped him understand the need to “add warmth and soul to make a house a home,” he explains. “I try to visualize a buyer living in the home, and I design the home to be livable.”

AND  this is where the Hamilton Aguair balloon dog stands.   If I am being honest, I love it in more organic material.  The mylar creates a completely different look.  The owner loved it too. The dog found a permanent home with the new owners.

The piece de resistance is the water slide discreetly tucked into the corner of the property.  It cascades down from the second floor into the pool next to the stairs.  Fun for kids and adults alike!

Barry Brodsky gets me!

Hamilton Aguiar

If you follow me on Instagram you may have known that I posted a painting by artist Hamilton Aguiar.  He saw it and reached out to me.  It just so happened that I was near his studio in Miami, so I stopped by and we had a nice visit.  I have been an admirer of his work for some time.

I was introduced to Hamilton's work in a gallery in Aspen several years ago, but his moody landscapes never fail to captivate me.  What the computer monitor cannot capture is the way light shifts the perspective of the shadows as it moves across the canvas throughout the day in his Landscape series.  The Solitude series of a single leafless tree has an overall sheen that somehow makes more powerful the feeling of solitude.  There is a minimalist energy, yet interestingly, the tree sculptures were all seen in pairs.

Much of his career thus far sounds serendipitous, like our meeting.  Hamilton gained attention at an art fair where his Landscape series stood out above the other very colorful works.  The gallerist I bought my painting from told me he was immediately mesmerized and Hamilton confirmed that that fair was the turning point

Hamilton's use of spacial dimension along with the strength of horizontal and vertical planes help make his work speak to modernism.  The luminescence created by gold and silver leaf under the paint is a study in light.  It was not surprising to learn Hamilton's background in his hometown of Brazil was in art restoration.  Landmark properties that were being restored called for a master of gilding or fine painting.  He came to the United States and settled in the Hamptons where he ended up with a gallery for a time.  Hamptonite friends, does anyone remember this?

Metallics, plaster, lacquer, resin, sheen, matte, sculptures, paintings ~ his toolbox is vast, his vision singular.  Each of his series has the common thread of harmony and balance.  Changing seasons and changing locations brings a new complexity to the subject matter that in essence, is very simple.

The Aqua series is inspired by the seascapes he now spends time amongst in Miami.

Hamilton began working on his 99% series.  They are spoofs of other artists' very popular and very commercial works.  Hamilton changes it just enough to make them his own.  I anticipate that show in the coming years.

I can't wait to see the entire series!  I will be watching with bated breath, Hamilton.  Thank you for your warmth and your time.

photos: studio and on location via Hamilton Aguilar, remainder CLI