Perched sixty feet in the air like a floating cloud and open to the Miami Beach sky, the Alchemist boutique is a hovering glass box inserted into the fifth floor of a parking structure designed by Herzog and de Meuron. Inside, its reflective materials capture the colors and energy of the surrounding environment and make it is visible from many vantage points throughout Miami Beach.
For the pedestrians and commuters along Alton Road, the reflective ceiling and walls create a visual link between the urban context and the shop, thereby drawing them into the space. Conversely, while inside the space, the activity of the urban landscape below is brought in and inverted by the reflective ceiling. Colorful cars and people move along the ceiling above the heads of the store’s patrons.
The dynamic tectonic language of the space is derived directly from the constant movement surrounding the store. The speed and motion on the street and in the garage is not only reflected in the mirrors; it is also enhanced by a kinetic mirror installation. Interactive mirrors on sensors ripple in sync with movement within the shop. As clients enter the store, the mirrored panels move and tease them to come closer. Once engaged, the mirrors mimic the clients’ movements, stopping when they stop and starting again when they do. These images of movement are relayed to the street below by the undulating mirrors and create a play of reflections from the shop to the city and back.
Project Team: Rene Gonzalez (Principal), Monica Vazquez (Associate), Kevin Regalado (Project Director)
Mechanical Engineer: Vidal & Associates (Miami, FL)
Structural Engineer: Optimus Structural Design LLC (Miami, FL)
Electrical Engineer: Vidal & Associates (Miami, FL)
Construction Manager: Chris Difranco (Miami, FL)
General Contractor: Aaron Builders & Development (Miami, FL)
Lighting Designer: Brand Lighting (Miami, FL) + G2J (New York, NY)
Consultants: Audio/Visual-HED South (Miami, FL)