Mayfair in the Grove – Yesterday’s Vision, Today’s Reality

June 24th, 2015
Mayfair Mall Just Completed 1979

Mayfair Mall Just Completed     ©1979 Dan Forer

 

The Mayfair in the Grove Complex has had a long and tortured history. Kenneth Treister, the re-known Miami architect conceived the project in the early 1970s. It was to be a self-contained upscale shopping venue catering to affluent Grove residents as well as to out-of-town visitors for whom the Grove had become a place to go when in Miami.

Before Mayfair, the Grove had been home to many small stores and restaurants flowing from Commodore Plaza to Main Highway and onto it’s main anchor, The Coconut Grove Playhouse. The Playhouse was proud of its own storied past. It was there that many significant theatrical productions of the 40s, 50s and 60s had first been produced with some going on to Broadway.

 

Treister’s new conception would be a covered and air conditioned three story enclave which invited the shopper out of Miami’s heat and into a cool environment populated by the best high end resources in the world. A central skylighted courtyard led the shopper by escalator to floors of prestigious names whose designer shops contained the world’s most famous luxury items; all in one convenient building.

 

 

Mayfair Escalator 1979

Escalator and Skylight,  Mayfair        ©1979 Dan Forer

Mayfair House Hotel

Guest Room, Mayfair House       ©1985 Dan Forer

 

 

There were distinctive elements: exterior stucco applications based on the Styrofoam carvings that Treister did himself by hand. These can be found all over the project – on walls, on columns, on planter boxes, everywhere. I remember the day when I was doing a walk-thru in preparation for a shoot and discovered Ken on a ladder, a renaissance craftsman personally carving these elements. He was literally one step ahead of the stucco-spraying guy. And then there are his custom designed lighting fixtures; blue-oxidized copper sconces on columns all over the project. Thankfully, most of these remain, performing their function; and they can be found there today. Not to mention the  bronze egrets wading in those blue-tiled pools and perched convincingly on balconies and parapets. Most remain.

 

Mayfair House

Interior Walkways and Egret Sculptures, Mayfair House       ©2006 Dan Forer

Mayfair House Hotel ©1985 Dan Forer

Atreum, Mayfair House Hotel      ©1985 Dan Forer

Mayfair Escalator 1980

Escalators and Water Feature, Mayfair    ©1980 Dan Forer

Egret Sculptures,  Mayfair House    ©1985 Dan Forer

Mayfair House Hotel ©1985 Dan Forer

 

Today it’s a shadow of the original place that Kenneth Treister envisioned. A remnant of what was once a great creation. Over time, a slew of developers of limited artistic vision and zero creative chops  butchered the place with the hope of a lucrative result. Once disappointed with the outcome, more butchering, till finally what remains today.

But, in addition to the shopping center, Triester designed an exclusive hotel, Mayfair House, one that would be operated in the European fashion. The hotel would have its own restaurants and lounges as well as a rooftop pool. Proud of its emphasis on privacy, the Mayfair Hotel quickly became the first choice for celebrities and performers playing Miami, and it remains so today. With bougainvillea covered balconies dressing the building in a colorful cloak, a tropical garden at the building’s core and fern-draped  interior walkways emphasizing elegant privacy – the hallmark of the place – The Mayfair Hotel lives up to the promise Kenneth Treister made years ago when he allowed his imagination to take flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Room Door, Mayfair House  ©215 Dan Forer

Distinctive Flower Application,  Guest Room Door, Mayfair House     ©2015 Dan Forer

 

 

 

 

 

Mayfair House Hotel

Room Balcony – Hot Tub and Privacy Trellis, Mayfair House      ©1985 Dan Forer

 

Mayfair House      ©2013 Dan Forer

Mayfair  – Sconces and Stucco Carvings    ©2013 Dan Forer

Mayfair House

Mayfair, Copper Sconces and Skylight     ©2006 Dan Forer

Mayfair House Hotel Room   ©1985 Dan Forer

Mayfair House Hotel Room      ©1985 Dan Forer

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