The imitable Jessica Pressler profiles the Faena District in Miami Beach (festooned with Len Blavatnik’s Koonses and Hirsts) where the convergence of art, design and major league finance is made physical and real:
The story that Faena, a fashion designer turned real-estate developer, wants to tell today is about the grand utopia — or “Futopia,” as he prefers to call it — that he and his partner are creating here in the saggy midsection between South Beach and the Fontainebleau formerly known as Mid-Beach. The hotel is just the first piece of their vision. Once the bulldozers and starchitects they’ve employed have finished their work, the area will be transformed into what he hopes will become a haven for artists, tastemakers, and their patrons, one that recalls Miami’s halcyon days, only with better food and seamless billing. By next year, the Faena District, as the city has agreed to call the three-block stretch of Collins Avenue, will contain the Faena Forum, a Rem Koolhaas–designed arts center opening this fall, and the Faena Bazaar, a luxury shopping center with the feel of a “modern-day souk.” The former Versailles Hotel, up on 34th, is currently being reimagined by the designer Bill Sofield as the Faena Versailles Classic. And next door to the Faena Hotel is the Faena House, a gleaming luxury-condo building designed by Foster + Partners that is already infamous for attracting an alarmingly dense concentration of plutocrats, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Apollo Management honcho Leon Black (or, at least, a shell company of his), and a slew of hedge-fund managers such as James Dinan of York Capital Management and Citadel head Ken Griffin. Rounding out the mix is Blavatnik’s brother Alex, who runs his Warner Music Group, and gallerist Larry Gagosian, who no doubt hopes to sell more Damien Hirsts to all his new neighbors.