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Alan Faena & Alejandro Jodorowsky: A Conversation


Whether he is building over-the-top hotels or constructing an entire Arts District in Miami Beach, Alan Faena dreams big.

In a universe where everything is an illusion, where the imaginative individual finds himself confronting dreams that shift between horrific inferno and blissful paradise, there are those who admit defeat when faced with a crisis. Others, however, choose to seek out the most beautiful illusions. And nowhere is illusion more poignantly crystallized than in one’s personal spaces: In a home, we create a finite universe, one whose structure and decoration reflect that reverent paradise of our dreams. That is what Alan Faena—a man who has created neighborhoods and art districts—has done in his gilded and rouged Miami Beach home.

Alan knew deep in his heart that getting close to a beautiful illusion was not the same as arriving. He bounded forward, surpassing the limits of some industries in his freehearted search. Alan is a creator who has not only lent his name to his singular territories but also resides in them.

Witness him in his signature tropical whites (sometimes with a flash of red), a matching top hat or fedora perched jauntily on his head, as he fully inhabits the baroque, serenely exuberant rooms of his house. Or pay a visit to his  Faena hotel nearby, a red-curtain fantasy of life that is a distillation of pure joy, with exquisite details. His presence transmits the alchemistic harmony of well-being and extreme elegance and transforms luxury into a sweetness of living.

Alan is a creator who has not only lent his name to his singular territories but also resides in them

—Alejandro Jodorowsky


Alejandro Jodorowsky: What guides you—your intellect or your intuition? Your body or your soul?
Alan Faena:
My entire life guides me—my instincts. I work on myself in order to be more discerning, to not deceive myself, to be transparent with others.

AJ: When you were little, what did you want to be as a grown-up? 
I often imagined myself as an astronaut. I covered my wall with pictures of places that allowed me to travel to unknown worlds. Life has given me the tenacity and concentration to turn these dreams into reality— and to add magic to these realities. I’ve learned how important it is to nourish the dreams one has as a child, in order to create new realities as an adult.

AJ: What has been your greatest happiness, and your greatest sadness?
The birth of my son, Noa—the day-to-day of being with him, evolving alongside him—has been and remains a blessing. When I confront my creative limits, I feel a kind of sadness when I don’t live up to my own ideas or standards. But these disappointments are inevitable, part of the process. If we are awake, we are always learning.

AJ: What’s the end purpose of art?
For me, the purpose of art is to make the world more noble, deeply felt, sensitive, and discerning. To elevate us. Art is an offering, an eternal source for anyone willing to explore its depths.

AJ: What does home mean to you?
My houses are more than homes— they are temples. Wherever I go, I create them. I live in my own temple within my own time, my own music, my own art, my own loved ones. Each element that I select has an aesthetic power or spiritual significance that elevates me. I don’t think in terms of design, but rather in a layering of my life experiences. Spaces have their own energies, and each layer that is added changes and influences the energy of a place. My collection of crystals surrounds and fills my home, and they transmit their energies to me. Art that I select for my space is not based on the name or trajectory
of the artist, but rather in terms of how a piece makes me think or see from a different perspective. I create my spaces in such a way that they fill me with energy, influence my creations, and give me peace to continue transforming. Ultimately, I am who I am because of the spaces that I create—they allow me to live in absolute peace with myself and the exterior world.

AJ: If you could make the world a better place, what’s the first thing you would change?
believe in a cosmic evolution and an eternal universal path. The universe can be perfect in its chaos—and I’m not interested in changing that, but rather changing myself. The world changes with the intelligent (or not so intelligent) movements set into motion by human beings.

AJ: What is your goal in life?
My goal is the transformative experience of the path itself. What matters most is not the end goal but rather my daily transformations along the way.

Article originally published at Elle Décor. Photo by Douglas Friedman

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