W Hotel South Beach 2009

The W Hotel commission in South Beach, Miami involved creating a large-scale tropical landscape with an abundance of mature trees. The twisted knots of the Seagrape trees caused by extreme weather conditions gave the landscape a sense of history and permanence. Saw palmetto and pitch apple trees were used as the primary plants in the labyrinthine seating spaces underneath the tree canopies. An added wooden deck to lead visitors through the dense, lush spaces, also allowed birds and reptiles to peacefully cohabit-ate. The goal was to bring the visceral and sensual richness of tropical vegetation to vacationers so they could have a genuine experience of native Floridian vegetation—and one where its gratifying wilderness had been somewhat retained.