The Real Deal Miami

Four Questions for architect Kobi Karp

The Miami Beach-based designer talks foreign buyers and hotels
By Alexander Britell | September 19, 2011 10:45PM


Clockwise from top left: The Caribbean Miami Beach, Kobi Karp, Le Meridien Sunny Isles and a private residence on La Gorce Island

Kobi Karp has made a design mark on South Florida across residential and
hotel properties, from the
Capri
project
in Miami Beach to the Tao
condominium
in Sunrise to Miami’s 1101 Brickell mixed-use office
tower. Karp has traditionally emphasized green design, with the U.S.
Green Buildings Council recognizing his Baylights project in Miami as
the first green residential building in South Florida in 2007. His
global design firm, Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design (KAID),
was founded in 1996 and has spearheaded projects around the world,
including UAE, Russia and Mexico.
The
Real Deal caught up with Karp at a Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce-hosted real estate luncheon at the W South Beach to talk about
Miami style, how foreign buyers are impacting building design and the
projects he’s working on right now.

What do foreign buyers mean to Miami right now?

They’re very unique. They’re really looking for something that is designed right, and unique to the community. They have the opportunity to go a little bit [wilder], to be a little bit less conservative, and really create and design an idea — and that’s really what they want.

What are you working on right now?

We’re working on a hotel, the Versailles hotel, which is an historic preservation and restoration, with a new crystalline tower on the ocean. We’re doing an historical preservation as well on the Peter Miller hotel on Collins Avenue, with a new structure which is very woodsy and contemporary, to relate to the wood structures that were there originally. We’re doing luxury homes on Star Island, on Sunset Island, down south in Coconut Grove on the bay, which really are cutting-edge designs and ideas, in a very contemporary fashion, with tropical design. The clients love it because they really love to come and have a Miami home, a Miami hotel when they arrive.

How much has green architecture developed in Miami, particularly on the residential side?

It has developed quite a bit. We have a lot of designs which are very green, and LEED-certified, and that’s really what the market demands and what the market deserves — not only from doing the right thing, but also from a business operations standpoint — it saves electricity, it saves energy and it saves water.

What do people not know about Miami design that you think they should?

Design in Miami is extremely cultured and sophisticated. It ties itself directly to the arts, to the community that we have here, whether it’s Art Basel or the historic district of Miami Beach. We’re very oriented towards the arts, culture and historic preservation. At the same time, it’s very tropical and open, with indoor-outdoor living, water, sky, and the opportunity for kids to be outside, for adults to watch sunrises and sunsets 12 months out of the year.