Among projects by famed French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon are an impressive collection of five-star hotels around the world. They include some of the most iconic and historic, from Four Seasons to Ritz-Carltons to Sofitels to Peninsulas. He also has dreamed up restaurant interiors befitting some of the world’s biggest culinary stars, such as Joel Robuchon, Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse.
Now he’s bringing his imprint to Sunny Isles with his latest project, the beachfront, 57-story Jade Signature. It was designed by the renowned Swiss architecture firm Herzog & De Meuron, which is behind the sleek new home for the Perez Art Museum Miami on the edge of Biscayne Bay, now within months of completion; the acclaimed stark and angular parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Rd., plus landmarks such as the Tate Modern in London, the “bird’s nest” Beijing National Stadium and the CaixaForum art gallery in Madrid with its towering vertical garden.
“The first thing is the architecture. It is important to study it very carefully because what I do is to translate the outside inside,” says the always dapper Rochon, who even on a sweltering Miami morning wears a signature, dark navy pinstripe suit and tie, round-framed glasses offsetting neat grey hair.
“The developer for Jade Signature has chosen very famous contemporary architects. The building has of course a modern feel, with inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s. It has a bit of the style of [late] Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. For me, the challenge is always to design according to the building and according to the city. I don’t believe in being ego first. I respect what is there.”
Rochon, amiable and softspoken, designed impeccably classic interiors for the Four Seasons in Florence, in a former 15th century palazzo. He redid the historic Four Seasons Georges V in Paris; the very British, legendary Savoy London; the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris, originally built in 1891 for Prince Roland Bonaparte.
What inspires him about the decidedly nonhistoric strip of standard-issue glass towers along the beach on Sunny Isles?
“For me, all of Miami is white. The incredible light is one of the most significant characteristics of the city. It is especially obvious when you come from a country with not too much sun. After the white, there is the blue of the ocean. And then the green of the tropical landscape.”
He’ll incorporate the blues and the greens. “But the queen of the colors will be white,” he says. “White marble, white terrazzo. These will also bring the element of cool, which in a place as hot as Miami, you should have. When people arrive from Latin America, Europe, wherever they come from in the world, they should feel like they are on holiday. That’s what we’re trying to translate, too. That kind of lightness.”
With the kind of star power the project has behind it, it’s no wonder units at Jade Signature, by Miami developer Edgardo Defortuna, are priced at a stratospheric $2 million to $25 million. Which means this is one more sexy glass tower off limits to most locals with Miami-sized salaries and tailor-made for monied globetrotters who’ll hang out here just a few weeks out of the year. But never mind about that.
Rochon is internationally known for designs that are always elegant, always warm, always harmoniously balanced between the contemporary and the classical.