The classic early-20th-century style gets a contemporary, and Floridian, twist
The classic early-20th-century style gets a contemporary, and Floridian, twist
2023 has kicked off with a bang for designers Rafael Kalichstein and Joshua Rose, founders of the firm formerly known as Form Design Studio. The duo has just relaunched their Los Angeles–based practice under the name Citizen Artist, a phrase that describes the mutually ennobling connections and sense of responsibility shared by artists and the broader communities they inhabit. The name also nods to the legacy of Rafael’s late father, Joseph Kalichstein, a world-renowned concert pianist and quintessential citizen artist.
As a punctuation mark on the new identity, the firm’s latest project—a toothsome Miami home chockablock with dazzling design details—reaffirms the core values and profound artistry that have long defined Kalichstein and Rose’s work. Built around the skeleton of an existing waterfront residence from the 1950s, the house proposes a fresh definition of high Miami style, one that weaves an alluring tapestry of influences and archetypes endemic to the global hot spot. “We wanted to distill the essence of all these things that make Miami what it is,” Rose says of the partners’ vision for the home. “There are elements of Art Deco, Cuba, midcentury modern, even Golden Girls, but they’re all filtered through a contemporary lens to create something genuinely new.”
Working in collaboration with architect Scott Joyce of Scott Joyce Design, the partners in Citizen Artist (and in life) completely reimagined the envelope of the structure in terms of form, flow, and material.
“This was a modest beach house that had been added onto and renovated several times over the years, each time moving further and further away from its original midcentury conception. We tried to give the house not just a new look but a new life that reflects the spirit and passions of our clients,”
The beach-y materials palette is introduced immediately at the entry to the home, which features a ground cover of crushed seashells and walls covered in a custom-tinted stucco treatment that incorporates an aggregate of crushed shells. A classic boardwalk leads to a compact entry courtyard that mediates the transition from the outside world to the home’s private sphere of beauty and delight. Even the front door, detailed with an oversized circular cast-brass handle fabricated by the Belgian firm Van Cronenburg, announces that something very special unfolds within.
With its walls of pale pink Marmorino-like plaster and floors of smooth nougat-toned terrazzo, the unexpectedly lofty entry hall—which rises to nearly twelve feet—sets the tone for the experience of the home. “We hate white walls,” Kalichstein insists, introducing the home’s kaleidoscopic palette of colors, alternately discreet and daring. The entry volume, as well as the hallway that bisects it, are crowned with vaulted ceilings that play into the symphony of archways and other curvaceous design details that lend a seductive rhythm to the interior. “We focused on the movement through the house and the ease of procession. Each room communicates with the next,” Kalichstein adds.
Artisanal flourishes, custom designs, and furnishings of wide-ranging period and pedigree create a unique sense of place in every room. The entry hall is anchored by a pair of benches adapted from a Charlotte Perriand design for the Japanese ambassador in Paris, joined by an ebullient 1960s chandelier and artworks by Damien Hirst and Jena Thomas. In the living room, the focus turns to a pair of leather-wrapped doors with insets of marble, quartzite, and brass that slide open to reveal a television. The kitchen’s coup de theatre is a wall of cabinetry with a series of ornamental fronts in the form of langues de chat (cat’s tongue) biscuits. In a word, it’s a knockout.
Radiused millwork features prominently in the color-blocked bedrooms, which balance the imperatives of serenity and vivid visual interest. In the primary suite, the fabric headboard and the plaster wall behind it are adorned with a 24k gold-leaf mural of palm fronds executed by the decorative arts wizards at Londubh Studio in LA. The palm leaves are mirrored in three dimensions in the form of a foliate chandelier of brass fronds, underscoring the designers’ penchant for the serial repetition of shapes, lines, and motifs. One of the bedrooms was turned into a jungle-themed nursery for the clients’ child, replete with a mural of parrots, panthers, and other wildlife as well as a sinuous snake-themed rug. “It’s as if all the animals are there to protect the baby,” Rose offers.
And the hits keep coming. There’s the bar off the kitchen with its hand-silvered mirror, quartzite cladding, and cabinetry of patinated brass; the peach-toned guest bedroom with delightfully louche Studio Job Tit lamps, a limited edition produced by Venini; and a powder room outfitted with a carved sodalite sink and a flamingo-themed mural on grass cloth. “We’ve done nine projects for these clients, and each one is completely different, with its own unique narrative articulated down to the smallest details, including a custom scent,” Kalichstein concludes.
“This story is about the beauty and wonders of Miami. It’s a sun-kissed dream.”
The landscape firm Lancescape Miami translated Joshua Rose and Rafael Kalichstein’s vision of a lush and tropical oasis. The ground is covered in crushed seashells, and the walls are clad in a custom-tinted stucco that incorporates an aggregate of crushed shells.
The entry progression leads through a compact private courtyard. The front door, framed in a proscenium, has a circular cast-brass handle that introduces the designers’ language of seductive curves and radiused edges. The sculpture is by Aude Herlédan.
The lofty entry hall is crowned by a half-barrel vault. A Damien Hirst painting hangs above an adapted reproduction of a bench designed by Charlotte Perriand for the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Paris. A Kyle Bunting rug is inset into the terrazzo floor.
The living room is outfitted with a custom sofa, a cocktail table of Murano glass and white oak, a Charles Tassin chair, a Murano palm-form floor lamp by Aureliano Toso, a Citizen Artist rug for Mehraban, and side tables by Christophe Delcourt and Caste Design. Sliding leather-wrapped doors with insets of marble, quartzite, and brass open to reveal a television.
Here’s a view of the living room looking below the dining area’s custom Saturne ceiling light by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert.
The curved form of the kitchen island speaks to the series of ornamental cabinet fronts in the shape of langues de chat (cat’s tongue) biscuits.
A Saturne ceiling light by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert hangs above a 1970s brass-and-marble table in the dining area.
A sconce by Apparatus adds a jewelry-like detail to the bar, which is fashioned with hand-silvered mirror, quartzite cladding, and patinated brass cabinetry.
Frank Lloyd Wright chairs designed for the Riverview Terrace restaurant near Taliesin in Wisconsin pull up to a custom desk in the home office. The desk chair is by Giorgetti.
A powder room features a sodalite sink and a flamingo-themed mural printed on grass cloth. The fixtures are by Waterworks.
The primary bedroom is highlighted by a 24k gold-leaf mural on plaster and fabric by Londubh Studio. The custom chandelier of brass palm fronds was fabricated by Neptune Glassworks.
The primary bath is furnished with a Kohler tub and sconces by Neptune Glassworks. Radiused edges in the mirror, vanity, and door continue the ubiquitous theme of gentle curves.
The guest room packs a pink-and-green punch.
A jungle-themed mural by Liesel Plambeck envelopes the nursery. The rug is Year of the Snake, a Liesel Plambeck design for Mehraban.
Londubh Studio painted the ceiling of the covered terrace. The sofa is by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia. The beds and carpets are by Patricia Urquiola for Gan.
A Santa Barbara Designs umbrella graces one end of the pool.