In Argentina, an asado is a social occasion, a meal of celebration where meats are smoked slowly over huge open-air fire pits: a glamorously South American approach to the idea of a barbecue dinner.
So, when Argentinian hotelier Alan Faena (international style icon, vintner, owner of Casa Claridge and great patron of arts and culture) swooped into Miami to celebrate Art Basel and unveil the still-under-construction seeds of his soon-to-be-launched art district on South Beach, it was only natural that he fête the occasion by inviting friends and family to an epic 5-day asado, throughout which the embers of a custom 10-ft grill smoldered unstoppingly, champagne flowed freely, and hundreds of our age’s brightest stars in art, architecture, filmmaking and fashion converged. It was the coolest.It all took place right across the street from Casa Claridge, under a giant tent erected abutting the Miami Beach boardwalk, hovering under the shimmering skeleton of Faena House (what will soon be one of the world’s premier residential towers and the shining star of Faena District). Said district will eventually comprise of 8 separate buildings, including not only the aforementioned Faena House (an as-yet-unfinished and already-sold-out 18-story residential tower), but also Faena Hotel (whose interiors will be designed by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin), and Faena Art Center (an architectural marvel envisioned by Rem Koolhaas + OMA). It’s a history-making undertaking that promises to forever change the scale of culture in Miami, to elevate that most international of US cities and crystallize its importance as a player on the world stage.
ABOVE| remember the incredible Manuel Ameztoy installation at Casa Claridge?! The artist also installed a verdant version of the idea into the roof of Faena’s party tent, which mimicked the feel of dining under the eaves of a South American jungleABOVE + BELOW| Faena’s graphic work is handled by Studio Job, who cleverly conveyed the hotelier’s commitment to collaboration in a branding strategy that covered everything from dinner plates to construction walls in a playful scheme referencing artists like Van Gogh, Munch, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Basquiat, Kandinsky and MatisseWith glittering guests like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Bitt and Diane Von Furstenberg popping by like it ain’t no thing, the asados were a lavish yet extremely familial affair. I found it only appropriate to wear all-white as often as possible in honor of our host Alan Faena (who wears the color exclusively, head-to-toe, year-round). The origami crop top and skirt above are by Christian Siriano (accessorized by bare feet, because life’s a beach on days like these).All the fashion, fanciness and festivities were fabulously fine, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend a minute memorializing the meal itself! The asados were prepared daily by Chef Francis Mallmann, a Patagonia-raised Argentine legend who trained rigorously in the art of haute-French food but has since returned to the stripped-bare simplicity and wood fires of the gaucho and Indian cooks he grew up with. His persona is sensual and his food is visceral; he utilizes every aspect of the fire ~ from the flames to the hot ashes. Watching his meats and fishes smoke out every day at the feet of Faena House felt like the resurrection of some ancient tribal ritual: a purification, an offering, a promise for the future. Besides throwing great parties, Faena also puts out a really interesting blog. Check it out RIGHT HERE!