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“I am a magician”

Alan Faena completely transformed Buenos Aires’ harbour area. Together with famous architects, he developed a whole district in Miami Beach, that now bears his name. The successful Argentinian is a visionary, designer and magician in one. We talked about his projects, his dreams and the perfect hotel.

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Interview: Susanne von Meiss
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You have been very successful in Buenos Aires with a fabulous hotel complex and a recognised art centre, named after you. Now the big Alan Faena District in Miami is finished. What is your driving force?

I love to transform. Transformation is very important to me. I love to transform landscapes, situations or people. Changing realities is exciting and therefore I love to connect with people through different situations. That is what we do by creating our hotels, forums and art centres. It is a dream and I like to dream.

What do you consider yourself in all these fantastic projects? What is your role?

Look, my final goal is healing, healing peoples’ inner and outer feelings and making them feel better. When we design an entrance hall, for example, we want people to feel elevated and enhanced – this is transformation. The people I work with understand this vocation of mine. I consider myself a bit of everything – a curator, director, conductor, well, I would say: I am a magician.

You have a flamboyant lifestyle and a theatrical inter­ior design taste. Your designs are packed with reds, golds, blacks and unusual shapes and forms. Is this your signature style?

Yes, my interiors are full of happiness and positive vibes. You can easily identify it as my handwriting. The same goes for my clothes: I only wear white. When I was in the fashion business I only wore black.

What makes Miami Beach so special?

Miami is a fantastic place. A very special place. Again, it is a healing place – all the blues, the water, the sun, the greens … and all the people who come here are curi­ous and come with an open mind and an open heart. That makes it so special.

Candy shop feeling: The pool area with bar at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach is the new hot spot of the international art scene.
With Alan Faena’s visions and art by Damien Hirst, the Faena Hotel Miami Beach boasts of superlatives.
111 suites and 169 guest rooms offer great views and service on point.

And why should somebody visit Buenos Aires?

Because Buenos Aires is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! The creativity in this town is unbeatable, the cultural life is exciting and the people are very welcoming.

Which is the next attraction we will hear about that is named Alan Faena? A Faena complex, museum, hotel, art centre or even an entire Faena city?

Oh, these are huge projects. It took years to finish Miami. But when the time is right and the people are ready too, I could of course start again at another place.

You have developed a lot of remarkable hotels. What makes a perfect hotel?

It is always about fabulous service. Design, architecture and perfect service – this is the combination that makes a good hotel.

In all your hotels, guests can admire works by fam­ous artists like the gold-plated dinosaur skeleton by Damien Hirst in the garden of the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Which sort of art do you collect for yourself?

I would not call myself an art collector but I love to buy art by young Latin American artists from Argentina or Colombia or works by rising American artists. In short: I buy what I like.

Designed by Alan Faena in collaboration with OMA, the firm founded by star architect Rem Koolhaas: Faena Forum featuring artist residences at Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.
Art at the old harbour: The Faena Arts Center is located in Buenos Aires’ former harbour district Puerto Madero (Picture: “Avião”, Los Carpinteros, Faena Arts Center Buenos Aires, 2012).
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