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Architect Wesley Kean of KoDA, Shares His Big Idea That Might Change The World With Authority Magazine

Big ideas are hard to come by, especially ones that have the potential to change the world.

KoDA architects and designers are experts in connecting architecture with nature and finding radical solutions to sea-level rise and other environmental concerns. KoDA’s Principal and Founder Wesley Kean believes that the use of Metabolist principles can change the narrative on sea level rise from one of fear to one of opportunity. This design approach is the award-winning architect’s “Big Idea That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years.”

As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Wesley Kean. Wesley is an architect, Principal & Founder of Miami Beach-based KoDA.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I found my passion for architecture at a young age in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire where I grew up. I learned the tools of the trade from my father, a builder and carpenter, who remains a key influence in my work today. My father used to say, “measure twice, cut once!” and I apply the same philosophy to design today. I measure using analysis of site, program, and culture and evolve the ideas into architecture. In my opinion, skipping past the measuring phase would yield a completely meaningless architecture. While studying architecture, I learned that it was more than a construction and development industry, but that it can actually impact lives on a broader scale. I’ve understood the weight of responsibility that comes with design and its impact on our communities. The fact that ideas have the power to change the world, is what gets me up and excited to go to work every day.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My firm KoDA was asked to design a project in a very controversial location in Miami. Controversial because of its location within a public park, which carried with it political, environmental, historical and cultural pressure. We approached the design first by evaluating the viewpoints of each of these individual stakeholders and then re-built the design concept up from there. The result became an iconic symbol for the city in which the Mayor came to the City Commission meeting to personally speak on behalf of the project calling it “iconic” for the City. It was very inspiring to see the profound positive impact an idea about a structure can have on a community.

Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?

There has been some recent momentum on the discussion of sea level rise in the world. More often than not, however, the conversation turns apocalyptic very quickly. After all, this is an overwhelming subject and one with myriad physical, emotional and political challenges that force many to avoid the topic altogether. Most of the discourse among architects, planners and stakeholders revolves around ideas about sustainability and resiliency. However, we need to also be thinking about transformation, adaptation and preservation.

Read the full interview on Authority Magazine.

MCAD and AIA Miami Host FitCity Miami 6

The Miami Center for Architecture & Design in partnership with the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Miami) and the Consortium for a healthier Miami-Dade will host the 6th annual FitCity Miami Conference on Friday, March 15.

The annual conference explores the intersection between health and the built environment. This year’s FitCity conference will focus on Mobility & Climate Change and invites participants to deepen their understanding of how mobility in Miami-Dade has an important, measurable and long-term impact on public health.

Guest presenters include Maria Nardi, MDC Parks; Marta Viciedo Urban Impact Lab; Kokei Otosi, Van Alen Institute; Bernard Zyscovich, FAIA, Zyscovich Architects; and David Capelli, Co-Founder & Director of #SmartMiami. 

Architects, planners, designers, public health professionals, academics, city managers, elected officials, community leaders, and residents are encouraged to attend and invited to this open discourse on how policies can be beneficial to community health and overall quality-of-life.

For more information on FitCity and to register for the event, click here.

MiMo Bay Apartments Designed by Stantec is Underway in Miami’s Upper Eastside

MiMo Bay Apartments is a waterfront community that will feature  236 units and a new 15,000 square-foot American Legion Post facility for military veteran members. Stantec’s design vision is to pay homage to the surrounding neighborhood and its Miami Modern architecture and to establish a connection between Biscayne Bay and the Legion Memorial Park.

Asia Capital Real Estate Management (ACRE) and Global City Development have started construction on MiMo Bay Apartments on Miami’s Upper East Side. The 236-unit mixed-use waterfront community is a joint venture between ACRE and a large Canadian Pension Fund.

The five-story building will be constructed on a 3.5-acre parcel formerly occupied by the building of the American Legion Post No. 29, which was demolished back in 2016—shortly after the Canadian pension fund acquired the asset for nearly $4 million, according to The Real Deal. That site is adjacent to Legion Memorial Park at 6445 N.E. 7th Ave. in the coveted Miami Modern (MiMo) District.

To read more on this unique and exciting project, visit Multi-Housing News.

PCCSF Treats Baby With a Congenital Heart Disease

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Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
 recently cared for Xander, a South Florida baby born with a congenital heart disease called critical aortic stenosis. PCCSF provided pre- and post-operative round-the-clock care ensuring that Xander’s condition remained stable before and after his heart transplant.

Pregnancy brings many wonderful moments: announcing the news to family and friends, baby showers, nesting and picking out cute outfits for the little one.

But for some couples, these happy moments are overshadowed by fear and uncertainty when they found out their baby faces a serious medical problem.

Alyssa Hopkins and Ray Nunez, of Boca Raton, was one such couple. They were happy to find out a son was on the way and the pregnancy seemed to be going well with the 20-week anatomic ultrasound appearing normal.

Though there was no indication of a problem, Hopkins decided to have another ultrasound at 34 weeks because “I was gigantic and thought he was going to come out 10 pounds. Little did I know at the time, it was a message from God because my results came back abnormal.”

To read the full article, visit the Sun Sentinel.

KoDA-Designed Armazem Showroom Celebrates Grand Opening

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Armazem Design, located in the DCOTA building in Dania Beach, celebrated the opening of their new showroom on January 17th.  Designed by architecture and design firm KoDA, the 6,000 square foot space leaves behind conventional showroom designs and creates an environment where customers feel at home. Armazem offers high-end home décor items, furniture and architectural products such as Bontempo, Itaca, Foscarini, Schuster and Adielle.

KoDA used subtle materials such as polished concrete and white museum-like walls to create a canvas for Armazem’s rich furniture and millwork. Texture was achieved through the use of light and shadow and pops of color highlight accents within the space. In addition to showcasing products, the new showroom also serves as an office space with glass-cubed conference rooms reserved for interactive and comprehensive design workshops.

SoLé Mia’s Free Construction Training Program Addresses Labor Shortage in Construction

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In today’s tight labor market, construction firms are facing higher costs, longer time spent on projects, and more work for their builders. But some firms, like SoLé Mia, have setup pipeline programs in South Florida high schools to keep good recruits coming into the industry.

SoLé Mia partnered with CBT College to provide free construction training to North Miami Senior High School students, as an example of addressing the labor shortage in the construction industry. Much of their time in the program is spent doing hands-on training in not only construction, but also technology, plumbing, HVAC systems and REVIT 3D modeling.

The goal is for students to earn college credits, as well as a diploma in Building Construction Technology so they are inspired to get a head start on their careers in the industry. To read more on how CRE companies are facing the labor shortage, head to Bisnow South Florida.

Bloommiami Develops Grey Goose Holiday Pop-Up at JFK Airport

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This holiday season, Bacardi Global Travel teamed up with Bloommiami to bring festive cheer to JFK Terminal 4 with an immersive GREY GOOSE cocktail and shopping experience. The vodka pop-up makes a travelers’ journey memorable with innovative GREY GOOSE cocktails from some of New York’s top bartenders while shopping a selection of holiday offerings.

Bloommiami produced and installed the space, which features an interactive illuminated Ferris wheel with mini “chalets” that contain GREY GOOSE holiday cocktail recipes. There are more than 2,000 feet of electrical wire and 700 light bulbs used to illuminate the giant wheel.

You can read more about it on design:retail.

KoDA’s ‘Miami Music Box’ Exhibit is ready for Art Basel

dsc_0547KoDA will be participating in their first Art Basel Miami event, at this year’s RAW Pop-Up.  The architecture firm always aims to create ambitious designs that examine the environmental, cultural and social context of each site.  See the story in The Miami Herald.

Much has changed in Miami since the days of segregated fitting rooms in department stores.

An important exhibit, “Miami Music Box,” will be on display at the former Burdines in downtown Miami from Tuesday, Dec. 4, through Sunday, Dec. 9, during Art Basel Week. The pop-up art experience will take place in what used to be the dressing rooms, divided by race, in the popular store.

Organizers said it is a conceptualization of how far our community has progressed. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Miami Music Project’s mission to impact student lives through the power of music.

To read more, visit the Miami Herald.

 

Hospitality Leaders Discuss Industry Trends at Miami Hospitality Designs Awards Panel

dsc_4812-copyTop leaders in South Florida’s hospitality industry gathered yesterday for the Miami Hospitality Design Awards’ inaugural panel discussion, Distinctive Hospitality Design in Miami’s Evolving Neighborhoods.

 Hosted by the award’s founders Oberhausen Marketing & Public Relations, the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association and AIA Miami Chapter and in support of IIDA South Florida, the panel took place at the Hyatt Centric Brickell.  The panelists included Stantec Director of Interiors, Susan LaFleur; The Barlington Group Co-founder, Bill Fuller; and The Genuine Hospitality Group Chef and Owner, Michael Schwartz.

Moderated by Indulge Magazine Editor in Chief, Evan Benn, the panelists discussed how consumer demands are affecting hospitality architecture, design and programming.

 Downtown Miami, Brickell, Wynwood, Little Havana, and Coconut Grove are some of these evolving neighborhoods that have emerged with their own distinctive identity.

“We take into account what speaks to us about the neighborhood and translate it into the architecture and interiors to make each project relatable to its location,” said Susan LaFleur.

“Although the food has to be great, I’ve always said it’s not the one thing that makes a restaurant successful,” said Michael Schwartz. “We want our restaurants to fit with the neighborhood, so we look at where we are, what we’re trying to accomplish and how that plays into the design.”

“Little Havana is a passion project for me because of my Cuban American background,” said Bill Fuller. “We seek out historic properties in Miami to give them a new life, but always wrap the property’s history into what we do to keep the building’s and neighborhood’s authenticity.”

The panel is part of the awards’ program leading up to the second annual Miami Hospitality Design Awards to be held in spring 2019. The awards will honor the architects and designers whose hospitality projects have enriched Miami’s built environment. Next year’s awards will include new categories, giving additional designers an opportunity to showcase their work.

Stay tuned for details on the 2019 Miami Hospitality Design Awards by visiting http://miamidesignawards.com.

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Bloommiami Develops Givenchy Beauty’s First Make-Up Pop-Up at LAX

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Bloommiami partnered with Givenchy Beauty to develop the brand’s first make-up pop-up in travel retail last month. The retail-focused design agency produced, implemented and managed the activation located inside the DFS store at the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles International Airport. Bloommiami incorporated mirrored and reflective black surfaces into the design to enlarge the space and elevate the appearance of the activation’s structural elements. This is the first collaboration between Bloommiami and the Parisian beauty house.

The 70 square foot pop-up activation greeted travelers at LAX during the month of August.

The pop-up highlighted the launch of Givenchy’s latest lipstick, Le Rouge Liquide. Instead of the traditional stick, the lipstick features a foam applicator, a different formula, and a pen-style mechanism in the signature Givenchy case.

More than 30 shades from many of Givenchy’s lipstick lines were featured in the activation.

“Givenchy Beauty is not currently present in Los Angeles International Airport so this one-month pop-up activation was the perfect opportunity to celebrate our brand’s unique and innovative products,” said Givenchy Senior Marketing Manager, Travel Retail Americas Daniella Caballero.

To read more, visit The Moodie Davitt Report.