In Fort Lauderdale, once you turn your back to the sea, almost every public space you look at is annoying. There are some bright moments, and the Kenann Building at the intersection of Federal Highway and Oakland Park Boulevard is one of them.
Handily, another blogger has done the key research for me:
Designed in 1962 for Ken and Ann Burnstine, by Architect F. Louis Wolff who Wikipedia currently references with the architectural firm Wolff DeCamillo Associates Architects Planners, Inc, the KenAnn Building was remodeled by Architect Dan Duckham in 1992.
With its glitzy glass, glowing lights, soaring exterior mosaics and swervy concrete, this building is a delightful mess. The interior is even worse/better. It seems as if each renovation left just enough of the previous iteration to contradict and argue with the new styling. The basic futurama curves are intact, with, at the entrance, some very vintage Miami Beach/Eden Roc green up-lighting behind tropical foliage around a water feature nesting in the bend of a curved staircase faced with rough-cut travertine. There is smothering beige carpeting that surely hides terrazzo. The second floor lounge is scream-inducingly wonderful. The domed ceiling is fail-faux painted. The winding multilevel bars are Home Depot granite and brass. Two immense traditional crystal chandeliers take on garish colors from the frightening disco –light show while Lawrence Welkish organ music drowns it all in a suicidal bubbling.
You really couldn’t ask for more, and yet, that same blogger links us the a New Times article that tells us:
F. Wolff designed this piece of fabulosity in 1964 for Ken Burnstine, a local drug smuggler and pilot. Burnstine disappeared 12 years later during an air show in the Mojave Desert. A single thumb was recovered from the wreckage, prompting some to speculate that he faked his death (Burnstine was scheduled to testify for the prosecution in a number of drug cases). The Kenann building's billowy white circles were inspired by — no joke — The Jetsons.