Gables firm pioneers new architectural style for Pinecrest residence
A new architecture style is being unveiled in Pinecrest with the help of a Coral Gables-based architectural firm.
U.S.-Lebanese impact glass magnate and real estate developer Samir (Sam) Moussa is completing a bold new 11,800-square-foot private residence, named “Aqua Azure,” that reflects his business background and philosophy.
As a young man, Moussa attended specialized trade schools where he learned various construction design methods specializing in glass. In 1983, he moved to Miami where, at the age of 22, he started his first glass installation business. After Hurricane Andrew, he built a multimillion-dollar impact glass empire stretching from the East Coast to Las Vegas with the firm Glasswall Inc.
In 2005, Moussa established Continental Glass Systems and sold Glasswall the following year to his business partner, famed developer Ugo Columbo. With CGS he expanded his VIP roster to include The Ritz-Carlton, Armani, and Ferrari-Maserati. As one of the global leaders of the impact glass industry, Moussa had clients across the U.S., Caribbean, Hong Kong, Middle East, and Europe. After recently selling his shares in Continental Glass, Moussa has turned his focus to his second passion — real estate development.
Aqua Azure showcases the Moussa development philosophy — “premium safety paired with peak luxury,” as Moussa explains.
To bring his philosophy to life Moussa tapped a Coral Gables-based design firm, Permuy Architecture. The firm’s founder, Ignacio Permuy, is well known for his work with other high-profile clients including mega-developer Tibor Hollo, racing icon Ralph Sanchez, artist José Mijares, and Zumba Fitness founder Beto Perez.
The Permuy team has made Aqua Azure the flagship for a unique new design style — ZenLux.
According to Permuy, the main concept was to create “a home that acts as a personal resort.” The main challenge involved creating a resort ambiance without the bunker-like qualities typically associated with safety features central to Moussa’s philosophy. To achieve this, ZenLux artfully infuses natural elements (light, stone, and water) to create an “irresistibly relaxing sanctuary effect.”
Aqua Azure, Latin for “turquoise waters,” uses no less than four water features. Those at the entrance form the illusion of a stream to “give you an immediate sense of relief and detachment from the stresses of modern life,” Permuy said.
The main jewel of the water theme is the staggering 75-foot infinity pool. Another striking ZenLux feature is its use of premium floor-to-ceiling impact glass throughout the property in a nod to Moussa’s corporate background.
Both floors of the residence are encased with imported Turkish white stone. This gives the home a timeless quality inspired by the iconic monuments of the nation’s capital, which themselves evoke the architecture of the Greeks and Romans. The stone comes alive with dramatic nighttime illumination to glamorously highlight the property.
The finishing touch to Aqua Azure came about by chance as a result of the Permuy family’s legacy in the arts. Moussa attended the firm’s annual “Art + Architecture” exhibition in its Coral Gables headquarters and was impressed with the artwork of renowned Cuban sculptor Rafael Consuegra.
After the event Moussa commissioned Consuegra, who is known for incorporating architecture into his art, to create an original abstract sculpture to act as the climactic centerpiece to the estate. The now-untitled piece symbolically will crown the interior of Aqua Azure and hang from the ceiling of its immense double-height living room named “The Great Room.”
The nearly complete residence already is having an effect on South Florida’s luxury real estate market. Permuy has revealed that a larger-scale North Miami Beach residential complex will be the next to feature the ZenLux look and indicated that two other A-list clients have made inquiries for their own ZenLux properties. As its impact continues to ripple, Pinecrest’s Aqua Azure may prove to be South Florida’s Fallingwater — and the starting point of a 21st Century architectural movement.