Floating on Air

Grand colonnades, triumphant arches, and other equally imposing yet wholly superfluous elements have invaded Miami like an architectural virus, and one local architect wants it to stop.

Through December 4, Miami's Luis Pons will unveil his plastic 30-by-30-by-20-foot Fabulous Floating Inflatable Villa — a satirical monument to the pervasive McMansion nonstyle, on display off Allison Island on Biscayne Bay.

"The culture of Miami — the architecture, the people — tends to be superficial. I've made my objects inflatable and plastic in order to reflect this idea of nonsubstance," Pons says.


The Fabulous Floating Inflatable Villa

Dacra Development's Aqua on Allison Island, 250 W 63rd St, Miami Beach.

Through December 4.

The white, cream, and beige villa, which boasts 360-degree bay views, will be illuminated throughout its columns and dome, making it visible even at night.

Pons explains that in the Thirties and Forties, before the advent of air conditioning, Miami's architecture used to relate to its tropical environment. Homes used architectural elements such as overhangs and exterior walkways to keep interiors comfortable without using technology.

In recent years, Pons contends, architects have moved away from building spaces that incorporate the outdoors and rely solely on technology to keep spaces cool, frequently rendering architectural elements just for show.

"Today's homes don't provide shade for people," Pons says. "Miami's architecture needs to be less about the image and more about the substance. This city has so much money and so much development right now; it takes so little energy to build structures right."

His villa is part of an ongoing series of inflatable installations and objects designed by the Venezuelan-born Pons, who is also founder of Aponwao Design, an architecture and design firm based in Miami. A limited-edition portfolio of twelve photographs of the villa by Miami photographers Moris Moreno and Vincenta Casañ will be for sale in conjunction with the showing.


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