Architecture

Architect Kobi Karp’s Latest Project is an Ode To Fisher Island’s Past

Jess Swanson

1. Reading Room copy

Kobi Karp is looking up into an eight-walled space inside one of the turnkey model residences of the newly completed Palazzo Della Luna on Fisher Island and isn’t quite sure what to call it. The project has been more than four years in the making and after a few moments of contemplation, the renowned architect pipes up. “Octule!” he declares, “You heard it here first!”

One of the many examples of Karp’s creative wit and architectural ingenuity, the “octule” is a spectacular octagon-shaped vestibule that functions as a spacious mini lobby with three doors opening to perfectly appointed adjoining bedrooms. After its neighboring sister property, Palazzo Del Sol, was awarded “Best New Residential Development in the United States” by the International Property Awards, it should be no surprise that this brand new 10-story waterfront building is ripe with delightful design details, which, like the octule, fit seamlessly into the well thought-out floorplans of Fisher Island’s newest boutique condominium building. The art deco elevator clocks, wraparound terraces, coral concrete columns, terrazzo floors and floor-to-ceiling glass dare to impress even the most well-heeled global citizens who will call it home. Take the book-matched Italian marble and rain shower controls, specifically mounted to prevent users from getting wet. “The form has to follow the function,” Karp says.

Veteran luxury real estate developer Heinrich von Hanau enlisted Karp alongside lauded interior design firm Champalimaud Design and a bevy of high end Italian brands such as Boffi, Lualdi and Margraf to conceive Palazzo Della Luna as a truly 6-star building, while at the same time, paying homage to the Mediterranean-style Vanderbilt Mansion built on the island in 1936. If it weren’t for the flat screen, the building’s scarlet-hued movie theatre with its tropical-patterned carpeting and beaded lighting fixtures would feel as if it were plucked from a bygone era of Hollywood glamour. The subtle banana leaf patterning in the lobbies, lush plants and cream colors “create a warmth and character that brings it back to our time,” says von Hanau.

The 50 units at Palazzo Della Luna range from three to seven bedrooms, and are priced between $6.5 and $40 million. Joining Palazzo Del Sol as the newest property built on the island in over a decade, Palazzo Della Luna ushers in a slew of contemporary conveniences that celebrate the lifestyle of its Miami Beach private island location by trading in the traditional kidney-shaped pools for zero-edge sunrise and sunset pools, a his and her spa cabana, and offering white-glove concierge services and incredible amenities such as a butler-serviced aperitivo bar and waterfront lounge, beauty salon, massage rooms and more. The children’s playroom was even designed by a precocious team of fifth and sixth graders from the nearby Fisher Island School, in partnership with Kidville.

“We stay in the Mediterranean DNA of Fisher Island,” Karp says, “but [make it] more contemporary.”

The building is specifically perched to maximize not just each unit’s exposure to natural sunlight but its waterfront views of the bay, beach and downtown Miami, and offers the rare opportunity to be eye level with waving cruise-goers as they pass on the channel as well as to spot the leaping porpoises in the turquoise waters below.

On a recent afternoon, Karp peers out of one of the unit’s bedroom windows. He lifts his finger to outline a rectangle that frames a view of the golf course and then points to the metalwork of the balcony bannister. “The way it’s shaped frames a view and creates a shadow effect on the walls,” Karp says. “We create these vignettes and the vignettes are what make it interesting.”