The Faena Arts District in Miami, which is undergoing renovations, gave the public a taste of what is coming when it invited three artists to decorate an elevator at the historic Casa Claridge’s Hotel in a project called ELEVATE.
ELEVATE was inaugurated for Miami Beach Art Basel 2014. Three artists have been given free reign to decorate the elevator at Casa Claridge’s however they saw fit. Cristina Lei Rodriguez created a mine with gold, and Consuelo Castaneda created a Mexican baroque cathedral.
The current elevator design was created by Typoe, a Miami-based graffiti artist. He painted all of the surfaces inside the elevator an inky black and covered them with colorful stickers, bric-a-brak he found in local gift shops, and old-fashioned letter magnets popular with children. His work is entitled Getting Up (2015).
The piece is intended to be intimate and immersive and to make the experience of riding in an elevator fun. Typoe has witnessed visitors riding the elevator up and down through all five floors simply to have an opportunity to play with the letters on the walls. The experience seems to suspend time and allow people to shut out everything else while they take it in.
ELEVATE reflects the discrete nature of elevators as utilitarian spaces hidden from view. The color, texture, and spirit of Typoe’s work stands in stark contrast to site-specific works of art. He sought to create an immersive experience by encouraging people to touch and play with the letters.
ELEVATE has gotten people excited about visiting the Faena Arts District, which will open soon with several buildings, including two hotels, three residential buildings, and a cultural space that was designed by Rem Koolhaas’s architecture firm, OMA. The project stretches from 32rd to 36th Streets along Collins Avenue. The grand opening is set for November. The Faena Group, which is named after founder Alan Faena, had success with a similar project in a formerly blighted area of Buenos Aires.