If you keep up in the architecture and design industry, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Peter Marino, the first recipient of the Design Visionary award, handed out last month by Design Miami/. According to a recent article from the global design forum, Marino was being recognized for his “achievements as an architect, for his knowledge and status as a collector of design, art and the decorative arts, and for the impact he has had as an advisor on contemporary and twentieth century design to his numerous clients.” And now you have an opportunity to witness first hand how Marino’s art collection, commissioned pieces and personal designs mix to create an eclectic work space that marries art and architecture, a relationship he often emphasizes.
Peter Marino’s architecture studio was founded in New York in 1978 after training with I.M. Pei and George Nelson. He might be best known for his work in redefining luxury retail space, as he created unique shopping environments around the globe for clients such as Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, and Graff and Ermenegildo Zegna. In a piece in last month’s Architectural Digest, Marino spoke about his use of commissioned work at Barneys. “I had someone covering walls and ceilings in baseball cards, someone doing mosaics over cosmetics counters, someone painting murals in the fitting rooms.” At the time, these were unknown artists, because the goal was always to look for creative kids. “And I still am. I go to galleries every Saturday. I’m very old-fashioned,” claims Marino. He also works commissioned pieces into residential jobs, which was a difficult niche to establish. Because clients often had their own collections, they were hesitant to add anything new. But the trend is picking up steam, as seen in a recent Florida home, where Marino got Guy Limone to cover every surface of a powder room with minuscule collages. Another project in Paris had Gregor Hildebrandt creating a black floor entirely out of film. “It’s a fun addiction, really. Working with artists keeps things from looking tired.”
In addition to designing and commissioning art, Marino has always been an avid collector. He began by collecting Warhols, which sounds a lot more posh than it was at the time. He was working for “Andy” (as he refers to him), who paid him in art, leaving him with little money. He would visit flea markets, picking up antique cookie jars and bronze plaques, porcelain plates and American pottery, often landing them for just $2 or $3 a piece. When his business took off in the late 80’s, Marino began buying art on a larger scale, and hasn’t stopped since. “It’s not my goal to die with money in the bank,” he claims. “I just have art.” His collections now include contemporary art and design, photographs, porcelain, and Renaissance and Baroque bronzes, some of which will be on display in his show. “One Way: Peter Marino” is not a retrospective, highlighting architecture from the last decade, and is what Marino calls “young and fun and hip,” suiting the Miami audience that he views as being “quite pop.” It will run through May 3 and is located at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach.