Five questions with Thom Filicia

15_SE Aerial-1Buyers shopping for a celebrity-designed luxury condo in Miami won’t have to decide between the city and the sand anymore – now they can have both as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Thom Filicia sets his sights on East Edgewater.

Biscayne Beach, the first luxury condominium to bring a private beach club to Miami’s urban core, has opened its brand new sales gallery designed by celebrity interior designer Thom Filicia. Most famously known for his role on the Emmy Award-winning show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Filicia has signed on to create the sophisticated ‘beach chic’ designs for the project’s common area amenity spaces, residences, and members-only Beach Club. Rising 51 stories along the bay in Miami’s booming East Edgewater neighborhood, Biscayne Beach marks Filicia’s first high-rise condominium design project.

Now open to the public at 254 NE 30th Street, the Biscayne Beach Sales Gallery includes several elements from Filicia’s design concepts for the building’s resort-style interior and exterior living spaces, including a mix of fresh patterns, grey woods, travertine stone, bronze metallics, textured walls, artistic lighting, and dynamic furniture pieces.

Soundbytes caught up with Thom ahead of the Biscayne Beach Sales Gallery’s grand opening. Here’s what he had to say:

Thom Filicia Headshot- Press1. What has inspired you in your work on Biscayne Beach? What has been the decorative and design concept?
For the design of Biscayne Beach, I was inspired by the sand, the sea and most of all – the city. The concept is based around finding a perfect balance between a resort-style beach setting and the vibrant neighborhoods surrounding East Edgewater. By mixing natural elements with raw and refined materials, we created common areas that are bold and sophisticated, yet inviting and approachable. You can feel comfortable in a sarong and sandals or dressed for a New Year’s party.

2. How do you strike a balance in designing luxury spaces, so that they don’t cross the line into ostentatious?
It’s really about the materials that you use, and making sure that those materials don’t feel self-conscious or too glitzy. You’ve got to find a balance: for example, I like to mix matte with shine, raw materials with natural woods, etc. If everything leans towards one direction, there’s a lack of balance.

Sneak peek of the Sales Gallery
Sneak peek of Biscayne Beach Sales Gallery

3. What sorts of colors and materials can we expect at Biscayne Beach?
I’m going to use a lot of linens, patterned rugs, and bold, rich colors. Finishes and materials like stone, wood, bronze, steel. All of them will be used in a warm and rich way. Imagine a relaxed, yet sophisticated, waterfront retreat lifestyle.

4. What sets Biscayne Beach apart from other projects?
Biscayne Beach is innovative in its layout, architecture and approach to waterfront living. It’s sandwiched between Biscayne Bay and the Design District, so it’s centrally located from an urban standpoint, but we designed it to have a man-made beach so that you don’t lose a very important aspect of living in South Florida. It’s the first residential property to be designed on Biscayne Boulevard to have a private Beach Club, and I think its residents will appreciate that.

5. What have been the most exciting and the most challenging aspects of participating in a project like this?
The greatest part is the ability to translate through design an aesthetic that is fresh and new and represents what Miami has become. For example, if this building were constructed 20 years ago, it would look very different from the outside and inside. From the art that we choose to the furniture, it’s really about how we see Miami’s style going through the next moment in its evolutionary cycle. Miami has truly “matured” into a global, international city.
As for the challenges — I see them more as opportunities. We’ve tried to make sure the design has the legs to breathe and to connect with people from all over the world, and so that it speaks to a diversity of cultures. And on top of this, making sure that it’s still unique and authentically “Miami.”

Rendering of Biscayne Beach's lobby
Rendering of Biscayne Beach’s lobby