Today, anyone intending to relocate to Miami brings with them a pre-conceived notion of modern architecture, produce isle coloring, bay views, and slick interiors. Miami mega-developer Jorge Perez, as well as corporations such as Hyatt, Hilton and Super Clubs are very cognizant of the Miami client expectation. There is only one architect/designer who can scratch the Miami Vice itch, enter Kobi Karp. Kobi Karp is Founder and Principal of KKAID, Kobi Karp Architecture Interior Design Planning, headquartered in Miami, Florida in the former Miami-Dade Police station. He is quickly defining the living style of Miami today, just as Vice defined its perceived culture.
Karp is a progressive designer whose presence can be best described as casual. Karp gracefully lacks the stiffness and academic air commonly found among his peers. One could more easily imagine Karp on the golf course that at the design desk. Born in Netanya, Israel on November 1, 1962, his family relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota at the age of 12. Karp was educated at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology, earning degrees in both Architecture and Environmental Design. Developers took notice of Karp after he completed the tastefully done renovation to the Cadillac Hotel in Miami. At the time, hotels and residential building sought to return to their original glamour and sought architects sensitive to city history. For his work, Karp received the Miami-Dade Heritage Trust Preservation Award.
Much of his appeal comes from his ability to authentically, diversify his projects. To his credit, one can randomly view three of his buildings or interiors, and make no connection as to the work of the same designer. It is this ability to transcend expectations that has caused his clientele to range from government to private, from site planning to build-out. He has even been contracted to coordinate retail traffic patterns and assist in the preservation of landmarks in urban areas. James Cubby of Home and Design Studio adequately describes his work as, “future function housed in a form from the past.”
It is this all encompassing ability that now allows Karp to lead projects in the Middle East, Europe and the Caribbean. Karp’s international expansion now includes a $180 million hotel in the United Arab Emirates, along with a $100 million project for the Resort Al Hamara Palace in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.
Another modern design approach that has catapulted Karp into demand is his balance of luxury, modern furniture, space and appropriate layout. Whether it is the Capri mid-rise residential development on South Beach or a mixed-use development high rise in Sochi, Russia, efficient flexibility is the Karp objective.
Karp, speaking to writer Libby John on the mission of his firm stated, “[We] exclusively focus on how the aesthetics and organization of a space can reflect a projects image. It works to improve efficiency and productivity and creates visual and mood-heightened appeal.” Karp continues, “We don’t frivolously design spaces, if it is required to be there, we will implement it.” Karp believes that character is not exclusive to humanity. He views buildings that lack character as the most offensive, and wasteful. Karp explains to writer Alix Sharkey, “I see buildings as people, with character and feeling, when you see a tall, good-looking person walk in the room, it’s normal to look up and pay attention, but you might not like them once you get to know them. It’s character that you learn to cherish and protect, and the same goes for buildings.”
Awards granted to Karp include: Gold Award, American Resort and Development Association, Governor’s Design Team, Minnesota, Outstanding Young Architect of the Year Award, Miami, Developers and Builder Alliance Landmark Award, and the Norman Giller Award, North Beach Development Corporation. Current projects include Canyon Ranch, Las Vegas, Club Med, Bahamas, and the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.
Long live Miami Vice! Kobi Karp must have flashbacks as his team works in their renovated, Miami-Dade Police station. They kept the fingerprinting room along with many other artifacts of criminal justice gone by. ‘Sonny’ Crockett would be proud.
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