These Miami-based architects and interior designers have forged a bond beyond love and marriage to form three of the most celebrated firms in the business.
CARLOS PRIO-TOUZET & JACQUELINE GONZALEZ TOUZET
When Shapiro & Associates tapped Carlos Prio-Touzet to design The Setai hotel in South Beach, the Arquitectonica veteran was initially irked when they assigned a young architect to partner with him. Little did he know that his new colleague would become his future wife and business partner. “He had a reputation for being demanding,” recalls Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet. “He might have been a little tough at first, but we hit it off immediately.” Once their romance was ignited, Jacqueline was careful not to get lost in Carlos’ shadow as a younger female architect and so she struck out on her own at Arquitectonica. In 2004, married now and with two children, they once again combined forces and founded Touzet Studio.
Since then, they’ve continued to design recognizable buildings in South Beach, including the new Nike, Gap and Apple stores on the same block on Lincoln Road, which fluently blend modern architecture into the historic district. They’re also working on the forthcoming Grove Central, a transit-oriented, mixed-used, co-living hub in Coconut Grove adhering to resilient design practices.
“We don’t work together just because we’re married,” says Carlos, “but because I work better with Jacqui than with anyone else. We’re both driven, focused and passionate. To be able to do this work with your partner, it’s trust in every sense of the word. We really balance each other’s strengths. And we still manage to sneak off for lunch together.”
THE COOL KIDS ON THE BLOCK
JORDAN & ANNIE TRACHTENBERG
For Miami natives Jordan and Annie (née Berkowitz) Trachtenberg, their courtship took place against the backdrop of a burgeoning Wynwood. In 2012, Jordan was newly back in Miami after working abroad in Singapore as an architect at UNStudio. At the time, Annie, a commercial Realtor, had a desk at The Lab co-working space and they met one fated afternoon at the now classic watering hole Gramps. “Wynwood was still novel. People didn’t know what it was yet,” recalls Jordan. “We were a part of that very special moment in Miami’s history. It was pretty fantastic.” A year later, with the help of Annie’s real estate prowess, Jordan bought an 18,000-square-foot plot of land with a historic 1939 building in Little Haiti for the offices of his eponymous architecture firm.
Realizing they had extra space, they launched &gallery in 2014, dedicated exclusively to emerging and mid-career Florida-based artists, including Patricia Schnall Gutierrez and Thomas Bils. “There are so many great galleries in Miami, but they often focus on international artists or artists based elsewhere. We wanted to create a space to showcase the great Miami artists that were being overlooked,” says Annie. Their artists often benefit from contracts and commissions with the Trachtenberg’s development and design clients.
Jordan also works as an adjunct professor at his alma mater Florida International University’s School of Architecture, where he leads graduate students in creating real world design solutions in his Decoding Development series, recently partnering with the Haitian American Community Development Corporation on a hypothetical backup plan for David Beckham’s soccer stadium in Little Haiti. With such a dynamic working relationship, Jordan reflects, “We never have a shortage of things to talk about. Some couples need a vacation to reconnect, but our schedules align so that much of our days are spent together.” Still, they’re looking forward to finally taking that honeymoon on their second wedding anniversary in April.
AN ICONIC PAIRING
SANCHEZ + COLEMAN STUDIO
In 2017, after nearly a decade operating their interior design firm Sanchez + Coleman Studio in New York, Angel Sanchez and Christopher Coleman decided it was time for a lifestyle change and moved to Miami. Life partners for two decades, the pair first met at a party in Caracas and instantly connected over their shared passion for design. Sanchez, whose eponymous fashion line specializes in bridal and evening wear (Sandra Bullock and Eva Longoria are fans), is also an architect by trade. When he and Coleman met, he was in the process of decorating his new loft in Caracas and Coleman stepped in to help. “We visited flea markets, thrift shops and showrooms all over the city,” recalls Coleman.
With a vast portfolio of residential projects, spanning Manhattan to Madrid, the hospitality industry has embraced the duo in Miami, accounting for 70 percent of their new clientele, according to Coleman. “Angel is architecturally focused. He’s great with renderings and big spaces. My process is slower, focusing on finishes, fabrics and furniture,” says Coleman of their collaborative relationship.
At the Coral Gables restaurant M House, they transformed a raw space into a chic bistro inspired by New York’s classic cafes, adding a tropical Miami twist with green and white terrazzo floors, rattan chairs, wicker light fixtures from Thailand and black accents for drama. Other hospitality projects include the new Hotel Indigo Brickell, and hotels and condos from South Beach to Santo Domingo. Of the Miami lifestyle, Coleman says, “I think it’s healthier. People don’t eat as much here.”