Samuel Amoia wants to bring his brand of New York City cool to Coconut Grove.
The model turned interior designer is working with the Arbor, 52 residences with an accent on eco living and utilizing local materials whenever possible.
The Grove is a good fit for Amoia, who sees the area enjoying a mini Renaissance.
“It’s grown up a lot,” says the 34-year-old. “There are young people working and living there, families. There’s a sense of community and it’s chill, which is nice.”
The Arbor will just complement the chill vibe — with bike sharing, communal spaces and art installations on site.
“If I were going to live in South Florida full time, that is where I would be,” said Amoia, who spent some time here as a catalog model in his late teens.
Though he looks back fondly on his days of posing, he had a feeling he was destined for something different.
“At first I thought I wanted to be a hotelier,” said Amoia, who attended Barry University, “but once I started working in that field I realized I had a better sense of design than operations.”
In 2009, while managing the bar at the Top of the Standard in NYC, Amoia fortuitously met leading interior designer Stephen Sills, who helped him get a job and kickstart his new career.
Five years later, he was in Miami for Art Basel working to beautify Elle Decor’s Modern Life Concept House, and life changed considerably — and quickly.
A rep with Stella McCartney saw a piece Amoia had designed — a dramatic side table sculpted out of salt.
Next thing you know the esteemed designer — and Paul McCartney’s daughter — commissioned the young man to do a store for her.
These days, Amoia has his own high-end furniture company in Brooklyn, putting out unusual, one of a kind pieces using natural minerals and semiprecious gems. Clients include Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Alexander Wang and Chanel.
“I guess I was in the right place at the right time,” admitted Amoia. “Now I am super busy. I’m on 20 airplanes a month. It’s nonstop, but I love it.”