Charles Allem creates distinctive Miami style

Art is the muse for this Miami designer, known for creating hotel and home interiors worldwide.

11/29/2013 12:00 AM

11/27/2013 4:57 PM

Charles Allem, a renown Miami designer who holds five-time honors on the prestigious Architectural Digest Top 100 list, sees Art Basel Miami Beach as one of his prime inspirations.

For Allem, art is integral to interior design, and each Art Basel show brings works that catch his attention. His art-centric approach has made a splash in commercial projects like Hong Kong’s Mira Hotel, where contemporary chandeliers set the mood, and the W on South Beach, where an in-suite glass bar makes guests want to stay forever. His favorite Miami project is the new Regalia condominium, designed by Arquitectonica, which he calls “the best building done globally.” It’s an example of how he integrates art into design, such as setting paintings with bronze frames into sliding panels and recessing art into the walls. Walls are leather paneled, and art will abound. “We are bringing in amazing pieces such as an extraordinary mural.”

Residential clients are often collectors who look to Allem and his team to create environments that complement the art. Many of his clients for local residences were drawn here partly by Art Basel, he says. “People are not just coming in to party and spend four days on the beach. Art Basel attracts affluent people from all over the world, and they are buying great apartments. Art Basel curates and edits everything like no other has done before. ” Clients are often collectors who want their Warhols and Hockneys displayed to best advantage in a comfortable, liveable showcase.

How has Miami influenced this designer from Johannesburg?

“We are all influenced by where we live,” he says. “Miami right now is inspiring me more than ever before. There are more important architects and more great buildings. Miami is going through marvelous areas of change. People want things properly done. Before this, there was a fusion of everything. There is a global desire of international design with the Brazilians and South Americans. When you start to see good architecture, it means things have shifted. It is a great time to be in Miami.”

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