Miami Beach Convention Center Wins IIDA’s “Best Serve Award”

Fentress Architects is proud to announce that the Miami Beach Convention Center Expansion and Renovation has won the 2020 BESTaward in the Serve category from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Rocky Mountain Chapter! As a leading interior design excellence awards program, the BESTawards recognizes projects that truly encompass “Brilliantly Executed Spaces and Thinking.”

Located in the heart of the city, the 1950s Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) needed a transformation befitting its reputation as a world-class entertainment destination the venue has become known for through annual events such as Art Basel and eMERGE Americas. To create a design that is quintessentially South Florida, we explored the surrounding culture and context, allowing for the design to become a contextual representation of the city.

One of the greatest challenges was harmonizing the 1.4 million-square-foot, grand scale building with the intimacy of human scale to create flexible, intuitive and daylit spaces. Inspired by the undulating ocean waves, the exterior façades’ “fins” – angled aluminum linear forms – filter dappled light throughout the daylit lobbies and pre-function spaces to provide a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor environments. This contextual inspiration was brought inside with colors and patterns that emulate receding water, sea foam, and local coral reef patterns.

“The finish palette is extremely thoughtful in regards to the surrounding nature while not going too over the top.” — 2020 BESTawards Jury

The 60,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom. Photo Credit: © Craig Denis

To truly capture the essence of Miami Beach in the design, we carefully studied how light enters the surface of water, as well as how it appears underwater from a diver’s perspective. This experience is celebrated in the entries leading into the event spaces, where portals with beacons of light intuitively guide visitors into the room. We also translated satellite images of nearby ocean waves, coral and sandbars into custom patterns for the carpets throughout pre-function and public circulation areas. Lighting fixtures were selected to create an uplifting, yet serene atmosphere reminiscent of the ocean. 

Natural light, glistening white columns, and subdued lighting punctuate the pre-function lobbies.

Swooping curves, glistening white columns, and subdued lighting punctuate the pre-function lobbies and the 60,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, drawing inspiration from Miami’s modernist architecture. The new Grand Ballroom features acoustic sound panels to heighten sound quality and LED lighting to produce both high-quality lighting and energy savings.

Surrounded by natural light and modern glass paneling, the Grand Ballroom’s 18,000-square-foot pre-function space overlooks contemporary artwork installed by Miami Beach’s Art in Public Places. Within this environment, MBCC visitors and staff experience digital displays incorporating event-specific branding, art and dynamic visual elements.

Watch the IIDA RMC 2020 BESTawards Virtual Event and learn more about this year’s winners here

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