FERNANDO WONG IS acutely aware of his surroundings at all times. He sees beauty and opportunity all around, and anything from a breathtaking ocean vista to a statement piece of jewelry can spark inspiration in him.
Already a living legend of landscape architecture, the Panama-born Wong has been creating glorious gardens and “civilized jungles” since he arrived in the United States in 2001, and his impressive roster of projects continues to flourish faster than wildflowers. The Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, which opened in December 2017, is home to Wong’s majestic 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden, which he designed in associated with Project-Space/Jonathan Caplan, that brings a peaceful energy to the dense urban area. He has worked alongside esteemed architect Richard Meier to transform the iconic Surf Club into the Four Seasons Hotel, one of the world’s most anticipated inaugurations of the past year. There, Wong fashioned a 9-acre oceanside refuge, complete with an intimate courtyard, and mélange of 500 palms and trees stretching between the property’s multiple pools and 800-foot expanse of beachfront. In his upcoming second endeavor for the prestigious brand, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale, Wong will collaborate with top London design visionaries Tara Bernerd and Martin Brudnizki to channel nature into a vertical palette, extending from the ground to the third-floor pool deck, resulting in a private oasis that seamlessly connects the edifice to the adjacent seascape.
To the delight of Palm Beach dwellers, Wong finally brought his unparalleled talent here, opening a cozy and charming apartmentlike office atop a spiraling staircase on Seaview Avenue, and along with partner Tim Johnson, now divides his time between Palm Beach and Miami. Together with their valued staff, they work on a bevy of high-profile projects, the sum of which “would freak people out,” Wong adds, if they knew how many his firm juggles simultaneously.
“Sometimes it’s a fast process, and we are in and out. Others might take years. Some never end. But each project is our child,” says Wong lovingly of his body of work.
Initially lured by local celebrity interior designer Lillian Fernandez, Wong worked with her on his first Palm Beach venture, a sprawling oceanfront estate, and is now thrilled to be masterminding the landscape design of her personal residence. Also on the docket are two other landmark Palm Beach homes and a total renovation of the grounds of the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach on Ocean Boulevard, currently in the rendering stage and slated to begin this summer.
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