Aston Martin is one of the most iconic luxury auto brands in the world—it’s what James Bond drove in the 1964 film “Goldfinger”—and has become a cultural icon.
Now, the brand is taking its hand at branding luxury condos. Its debut project is the Aston Martin Residences Miami, located on the shore of Biscayne Bay, where the building now stands as the tallest residential building in Miami. It’s also the first residential real estate project by the car company in its century-old history.
Marek Reichman is the executive vice president and chief creative officer of Aston Martin. He has been designing the building and its interiors alongside Luis O. Revuelta, the principal of Revuelta Architecture, since 2013, as well as Rodolfo Miani from Argentinian firm BMA Architects. With marble interiors, an art gallery and extra-high ceilings with Atlantic Ocean views, the project brings a sleek tower to the downtown Miami skyline, where its shape stands out.
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The building is round, curvaceous and has a slice out of the 52nd floor for an outdoor swimming pool on a dramatic plateau, which looks up to its penthouses on the top floor—one which is going for $50 million (and comes with an Aston Martin race car). The building, home to 391 luxury condos, boasts museum-like parking spaces for cars and for yachts, as well.
Mr. Reichman, who usually designs cars, talked to Mansion Global about the design drama of this luxury tower, drawing from car design to hurricane-proof and a personal project on the River Thames in London.
Mansion Global: What was it like going from designing cars to a luxury residence?
Marek Reichman: This is the first time. A massive learning curve in scale. With cars, you start with scale, the learning has been about structure, internal space and volume. You can be relatively subtle at scale but drama at full size.
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MG: This new Aston Martin residence is the tallest residential tower in Miami, what were you going for with the building’s exterior?
MR: True inspiration? Air flow and wind. The understanding of Florida being susceptible to hurricanes. I worked closely with architect Luis Revuelta. Eight years ago, we started sketching together, and part of the inspiration shows what Aston Martin is about, which is as much about aerodynamics and power as it is about beauty. We started to talk about the wind, hurricanes and shape, as the building is close to the water. There’s this vast expanse of the ocean and wind comes through those corridors.
MG: How do you design a world-class condo for Miami with so much competition nearby? What key elements did you want to bring?
MR: The journey we went on was long. We didn’t just meet and decide, “we’re going to do this.” I spent a lot of time understanding their passion and need to do this. Then it was to make it different and have an impact on the Miami skyline, and therefore Florida. There was a lot of scrutiny. It needed to be an impactful building, all the way down to the millimeters—every stitch on one of the door handles is the same number of stitches we’d apply to some of our car seats. There’s an instant recognized smell, feel, touch of an Aston Martin as soon as you approach the building.
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MG: The $50 million triplex penthouse at the top of this building is truly the next level of luxury—it even comes with a $3.2 million, limited-edition Aston Martin Vulcan race car. Where did you begin with this dream home?
MR: We really did say that at this point, this level of ultra-luxury, which is what it is, it has to be exceptional. You’re looking for a limited number of clients who can afford that penthouse. When they do, it has to be a fall in love moment. You go up and fall in love with the view, the size, the drama, the materials. It really was about turning the dial from 10 to 12.
MG: Where is the magic in ultra-luxe living? Is it high gloss, extra space, proportions?
MR: Its proportion, view and glass. It’s the three-level atrium. It’s about not limiting your views when you’re out there. Having these 360-[degree] visions around the building, which is about glass, and how we cut out the floor to build drama. It’s large enough, so why not go the extra mile so someone says: “Wow, that truly is a great place.” And you’ll be proud and stand there and say: “This is my view.”
MG: Why did you want to include an art gallery on the 52nd floor?
MR: Art is important to me and [developer] G&G [Business Developments], and the team. It’s a building created from art, a lot of people who have purchased and will purchase here will be art collectors. This is a chance for them to come and look at art. For a building like this, it was so key that we have a floor devoted to the world of art.
MG: In one interview, you said you’d love to be a film director, because you love to create storylines. What’s the story or plot of this building, if it were a film?
MR: Oh, my goodness. The plot here is that someone has dreamt up a form of escape and they get to fulfill and live their dream. Maybe it’s the story of me. Because from sketch to reality, you can push the boundaries to make something that inspires people, that gives them a sense of awe. Or, having been up there yesterday, I think it’s like James Bond’s retirement flat. His whole life, he’s been wanting this, and has hung up his gloves, he walks into the infinity pool, and this is where he retires.
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MG: What is your personal definition of luxury?
MR: Luxury is something you desire, it’s not a necessity. Water is a necessity. The best cappuccino on the planet is a tiny café in Rome, I’ve been there. That’s luxury. I can make a cappuccino, but it’s not by this one barista. It’s about rarity, it’s about your individual desires being met and satisfied. It’s something you have a passion for.
MG: Who was your design mentor who helped you shape your vision?
MR: From my early years as a car designer, the ex-head of Porsche design, there was a gentleman called Harm Lagaay. He understood form. When I was one or two years out of studying at the Royal College of Art, I met him, and he always asked me: “Why have you done this?” Nobody else ever asked why, he always asked for an explanation. When someone questions and makes you search for your answer, you’ll find more within yourself to answer your own questions. For every creative designer, the person you’re trying to beat is yourself. You know you have to do it better next time.
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MG: What is the most luxurious item in your home?
MR: I’m building my own home on the River Thames in the U.K. I’ve knocked down an old house and I’m six months away from completion. The most indulgent room will be the living room, where I’ll have a baby grand Steinway piano. I love it when there’s someone playing the piano and I’m sitting there listening with my eyes closed, that will be the most indulgent place in my home.
MG: Do you believe in design trends, or are you a classic, timeless person?
MR: I am a classic timeless person, though design trends do exist. You have to sometimes look, learn and honor them. But true beauty through design will transcend any trend that exists. There are still things today that are beautiful, no matter what the trend is today. Like a Achille Castiglioni lamp is a chunk of marble with a stainless-steel arc and head with a cheap light bulb inside of it, but is one of the most beautiful lamps on the planet.
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