In addition the general elements in the lobby, other common areas and the units themselves, he’ll also be designing some of the fixtures and furnishings for Jade Signature. For those, he says he intends on an eclectic feel, drawing from different periods from the 1930s to the 1970s.
“We will include some vintage pieces. It’s interesting that we call something that is more than 60 years old modern, but more than modern, some of these designs feel still contemporary.”
While Rochon is the master of adopting the classical for the modern age, he doesn’t believe that the often heavier, more ornate style always works well in the context of a fresh city like Miami. And don’t get him started about all the faux Mediterranean architecture he has spied around South Florida.
“Interpretations can be good. But copies are always terrible. If you live in Europe — in France, in Italy, in Spain — you know certain proportions by heart. You live with them every day. I live in a very classical apartment in Paris. The streets around are filled with classical buildings. Immediately, I can feel what it classical. The same with the Spanish style. It can make sense in Miami because like Spain there is the sun here. And there are many people who come from Latin American where there is Spanish architecture. ... When you play the piano, you need to play the classical first. You need to have a base.”
Rochon says he hopes to spend more time in town, get to know a city he says feels “very European.” So far he has been charmed by South Beach. The Florida Keys, not so much.
“I love the Art Deco. The French love the Art Deco. It is wonderful that so much of it has been preserved. And I love the pastel colors. They give a great impression.”
But the Keys?
“I spent only a little bit of time. It can be beautiful. Or it can be ugly. Sometimes you can feel like you are in a private paradise. But the rest can be tacky. And poor. I was surprised.”
Rochon won’t offer his assessment of the endless new glass towers encroaching on the Greater Miami skyline. “I’d have to spend more time and really see what is here,” he says.
But he’s troubled by the proliferation of the same style across the globe.
“It used to be that in America, people wore jeans, but in Europe they did not. Now everyone wears the same jeans, in Europe, in the Middle East, everywhere. I like jeans. But I don’t like to see them everywhere. You turn on the TV in any part of the world and you see the same game show. Just the language is different. Also, everywhere you go, you see the same glass boxes now. Globalization is good for some things but not for everything. Cities start to lose their identity.”
So what if Rochon wound up spending more quality time in that white, wet heat of Miami? Would he consider putting aside some of the suits and ties in favor of lighter, perhaps less formal business wear? In the summer, anyway?
“One of the privileges of getting old is that you can do what you want. In the old days, people showered more than once a day. If I lived here, I would shower and change three times a day, but I would still wear my suits and I wouldn’t care if it’s not what people think I should be wearing.”