Green thumb: Enzo Enea talks water, mysticism and Miami
Green thumb: Landscape architect Enzo Enea brings mystique to Miami’s shores
Enzo Enea has honed his craft since he first worked on landscaping Hawaii’s Sheraton Hotel in the 1990s. So much so that the Swiss-based founder and CEO of Enea Landscape Architecture is now the right contact for creating lush green spaces that combine sensational show style with a nuanced eye for balance and intimacy.
These are particularly busy times for Enea’s practice, particularly in Miami, where his name is on a variety of bold projects, including Enrique Nortens One Ocean, Arquitectonica’s Oceana Bal Harbor, Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum, OMA’s Park Grove, and Isay Weinfeld’s Fasano Residences + Hotel Miami Beach.
He recently completed work on the 43-unit Palazzo del Sol gated community, a palace parish on Fisher Island’s last premier waterfront development, with 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, South Beach and downtown Miami.
We took the opportunity to nail down the landscape architect to learn more …
Background image *: What was the order for the Palazzo del Sol and how did you interpret it?
Enzo Enea: Two years ago we were asked by Fisher Island Holdings to develop a landscape concept for the exterior of the Palazzo del Sol. The brief was to create a whole new concept of outdoor living by maximizing the use of the outdoor spaces and making the outdoor space an extension of the interiors of the Palazzo del Sol building.
Enea worked with Miami’s specific microclimate to create a design that feels right at home in the city
In a tropical climate like that of Miami, where temperatures can exceed 40 ° C, such a requirement requires careful study to create a microclimate that allows families to truly enjoy the outdoors. We were inspired by the idea of indoor and outdoor connectivity, but the view of the water was key. Because of this, we’ve changed the position of the cabanas to face the water and open up the view by strategically removing trees and palm trees from these angles.
W *: What was the biggest challenge of the project and how did you solve it?
EE: The project was already under construction before our involvement, so the design process became untypical. It was a challenge to catch up. Since there was no break in the construction plan, we had to come up with a concept that was not only fresh but also feasible in terms of constructibility. We had to work efficiently to build trust and add value to the project. Fortunately, the customer was very open to the bold steps we suggested.
W *: Which part of the project are you most proud of?
EE: The most notable part of the gardens is the arrival and drop off of the Porte-Cochère, as well as the pool deck overlooking the waters of Government Cut and South Point Park. We designed architectural elements covered with flowering tendrils to make the space greener and fresher. The design interweaves the natural paving materials with varying textures and shades of green to create a natural but well-kept landscape.
W *: How do you assess the current state of landscape architecture?
EE: Landscape architecture is essentially about shaping our future environment and bringing about remarkable changes. It’s a combination of science, engineering, biology, and art, and it’s more complex than most people can think of. It’s hard to imagine another profession that has done so much for society.
W *: What are the pitfalls young practitioners entering the business should be aware of?
EE: It’s important to be practical. Sliding the envelope in the design is a matter of course. However, it is important not to lose sight of the goal of the projects and to respect the client’s budget.
The water view was key, so the architect worked to open up the ocean view
W *: In your opinion, what are some of the common mistakes made by landscape architects?
EE: Not integrating the landscaping into the building architecture and location. The landscape architect must be aware of the environment, the climate, the plant hardiness zones and the style of the architecture. It’s not about decorating, it’s about integrating.
W *: Who do you think is doing a great job in your field these days?
EE: An important area of landscape architecture is to generate value for a place. A good example is the High Line in New York. By activating this area, every developer building around Manhattan’s West Side has benefited. Hyde Park in London is another example of how important landscape is in a city.
W *: Who influenced or inspired you?
EE: My personal design philosophy has its roots in my childhood in Italy. The summers that I spent on my grandfather’s farm were rooted in me by the mystical properties of nature. He was part of a long line of Italian stonemasons, and my father continued that tradition with a garden decorating shop in stone and terracotta. As a child, I helped my grandfather build his fountain and recognized the importance of stone and water in the garden as calming, therapeutic elements. I started landscaping in 1990 when I came to see my father. This early examination of the practical, structural aspect of the garden trade as well as its financial aspects influenced how my company was developed and how it works today.