Designer and Developer Talks Technique
“The next generation of work shall prove to be an interesting one,” begins Mario Egozi as he describes the next chapter in his diverse and creative life. Architect, designer and developer, he has stretched his imagination beyond where even he ever expected.
A native of Miami, who has spent most of his adult life in New York, Egozi has returned to Miami to celebrate his roots.
“I love Miami. It’s my home,” he says.
From when Egozi was a boy, he remembers riding his bike and later driving the streets and admiring the architecture and design of the houses in the neighborhood. There was one modernist one that he particularly admired. It was like a spaceship to me, he ponders; a fantasy of space, color and texture.
Today he finds himself shuttling back and forth between Miami and New York where he has thrived professionally specializing in high-end residences. He describes himself as a modernist in terms of sensibility, but far from the cold austere kind. He insists on warmth, which he creates from the use of materials. Juxtaposing one next to the other, he admires how they relate. He insists on warmth through the selection of materials, typically beautifully rich wood sneaks into the picture. Other times it, synthetics. His latest favorite is the woven vinyl flooring that he claims is not only sensational in looks, but impenetrable.
“I’ve literally rubbed it with peanut butter and jelly,” Egozi says, his eyes wide open with excitement.
In Miami, he built the highly praised condominium CIELO, located on Harbor Island midway between the Design District and Bal Harbour. “There I was, driving as in my youth, and I found this incredible site,” he says. It had always been his dream and lifelong passion to build. As the developer and designer, the dual role proved challenging.
As residential interiors are his forte, he spent a lot of time agonizing over the floor plans. With bold chartreuse and graphic black and white Cuban tiles, the lobby pays homage to Matisse does Miami.
“Living here has certainly influenced me” he replies when asked about the color selection. “Believe it or not, I bought a fantastic cabana-like condo here with the same chartreuse black and white color scheme.”
In New York, his principle living room is a dark chocolate brown. Even the moldings are painted out. Large southern windows capture the light with the scintillating views. His New York client base is diverse with Movie producers/directors to internationally known financiers, often with children. He enjoys the families and getting to know them.
“Understanding my clients is a very important part of my job,” he says. “Each one is unique and requires an alteration in mindset from the previous. Sometimes, at least at first, it’s confusing.”
No matter the client, however, there is a recognizable style. He calls it ‘Modern Classic’, with a shrug, as he does not define himself by style. What is apparent is the commonality of the spaces, the way the rooms feel: the details, the sensual use of materials and colors and the efficiency in which they perform.
Regarding accessories and knick-knacks? “Clients should display things that are beautiful as well as meaningful.”
Favorite materials? “That all depends.”
Mario is a big proponent of smaller living but has difficulty convincing clients. “It’s the ultimate Green statement. We don’t need so much,” he says quite seriously. Egozi is equally comfortable doing historic preservation, in which he is also well versed.
“I enjoy preserving what is beautiful and believe that we have a responsibility to preserve the best from our past and present. Defining the ‘best’ is not so easy.
Next project? “I’m ready,” he affirms with a gentle nod. “I’m definitely ready for the next chapter.”