The name Puerto Azul—Spanish for Blue Port—might conjure up visions of piers perched over clear waters, sand on the shore and the sun’s warm glow. It’s also the moniker designers David Gonzalez-Blanco and William Jurberg appropriately gave the Miami Beach condominium that they created for a New York couple’s vacation retreat, complete with 180-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean.
“The client had purchased and wanted to combine two units in the waterfront condominium,” says Gonzalez-Blanco, “so we set about knocking down walls to create a large, open space.” The newly amplified dwelling blended a two-bedroom abode and a three-bedroom condo (each with their own living spaces and kitchen) to create four bedrooms and four full baths, as well as a living and media room, kitchen, dining area and a bar that are all open to each other.
“David has more of an architectural background,” notes Jurberg about his partner. “He leans toward the minimal and I tend to be a bit more traditional. This condominium is the perfect example of that marriage. It’s not strictly stark contemporary, but rather it’s softened with woods and organic elements.”
The architecture and, congruently, the design, took their cues from “the pier”—a white oak walkway inlaid into the predominantly sand- stone flooring. This path leads from the entry to a pair of windows that are surrounded in backlit white onyx, visually reminiscent of the sand tones in the seascape beyond. “My favorite piece in the condominium is that onyx detailing,” says the client. It also serves to break up the open floor plan with living, dining and media rooms to one side of the pier and a bar and sitting area on the other.
The pier is echoed above in a modular fiberboard feature with an undulating pattern inset into the high-gloss ceiling. On either side are polished oak soffits—one over the kitchen and the other over the bar—visually separating them from the living and dining areas. Polished oak is repeated in tandem with the Caribbean blue quartzite- topped counters, which reference the ocean and contrast with the distressed matte-plank flooring used for the pier.
“We wanted a space that was comfortable for our family,” says the homeowner. “Something modern yet warm; something that was conducive to entertaining.” The designers selected pieces with clean and low lines so as not to obstruct the views. “The living areas and sitting rooms were designed to interact with each other,” says Gonzalez-Blanco. Dark coffee tables are juxtaposed with beige leather B&B Italia sofas— an L-shaped one for the media room and a smaller one abutting it to create the living room.
In the bar’s seating area, two pairs of walnut-framed chairs are set around an oversize, petrified tree trunk coffee table with a trio of Alison Berger Glassworks pendant lights suspended above. The fixtures are repeated in the adjacent dining area as a large cluster, creating an artistic statement above the walnut-slab dining table and at once unifying both spaces.
For one of the bedrooms, the designers chose only a few minimalist furnishings—an oak Baker server, a low bed, an armchair, a dresser and small side tables—to play up the water vistas beyond the windows.
“The idea was to allow the view to be the focal point,” says Jurberg. In the master bath, a palette of Crema Mocha limestone and a custom glass mosaic in sand tones recall the seaside aesthetic.
“The subtle maritime suggestions in the horizontal architectural elements extend the view from the interior to the exterior,” notes Gonzalez-Blanco, “while the natural interior palette and qualities create a space that is both harmonic and serene.”
Achieving a true connection to and with the outdoors from within may at times be challenging,and yet,for Puerto Azul,it proved to be a breeze.