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By Drew Limsky | Photo: courtesy of WOW Mktg | April 3, 2018
WOW Mktg founder Jose Dans nurtured a lofty vision for his agency’s new offices. Miami has never seen anything like it.
“If you walk into any agency, everyone has the polished concrete floors, the exposed ceilings—everyone has that Google look,” says Jose “Pepe” Dans, founder and president of WOW Mktg, and he’s right. “If you don’t have three pool tables and two air hockey tables, you’re not the biggest and the baddest.” But Dans wanted something different. From the beginning, he had a clear concept for his suite of offices: a marriage of a sophisticated penthouse and a concierge level that one might find in a New York hotel.
“It does not have a Miami feel, and that’s OK,” Dans says. “Everyone has a Miami feel. I wanted this to feel like home.” Dans is especially gratified when clients come by to work—or just to hang out in the common spaces with their favorite drinks, which Dans knows by heart (one is especially partial to bourbon). If clients happen to stop in on a Wednesday, they get an extra bonus: That’s when a massage therapist is here to knead muscles all day.
Previously installed in a 3,000-square-foot space in a nearby building in a Coral Gables office park, WOW Mktg now sprawls over a series of plush, tailored chambers that add up to 10,000 square feet. The living rooms feel like designer vignettes, and team members are drawn to a sleek open kitchen. Christian Vidal of G Alvarez Studio (galvarezstudio.com) served as interior designer, executing the project in four months. Dans and his team moved in in early 2018.
“WOW Mktg was a unique opportunity to express a different level of design that is not typical in workplaces,” Vidal says. “We were inspired by the richness of beautiful dark, dramatic blue-blacks with touches of brass, and the concept of a hospitality feel. Moody blues paired with accents of rich gemstone colors work wonders, keeping the environment calm while also helping to stimulate tasks that require creativity and ingenuity.”
The busy office requires a healthy dose of both traits. The last year has been an auspicious one for Dans—it was a year that wholly warranted a wow space to match the agency’s name, success and rebranding. “At this time last year we were 22 people, and today we’re 71,” Dans says. “We billed $45 million out of this office.” Among the firm’s 30-plus clients are Disney, CVS, Univision and the Miami City Ballet.
To match the level of such marquee clients, Vidal made sure that top-shelf brands and materials were well-represented, from the velvet Jonathan Adler armchairs on the lobby to the porcelain island in the kitchen. But the accessories in Dans’ personal office were all hand-picked by Dans himself. Max Gunawan’s Lumio lamp—purchased at the Smithsonian gift shop in Washington, D.C.—sits atop a bar cart that Dans says he has owned forever. He created a conversation piece out of a stack of old books and a glass bell jar from Restoration Hardware, and Dans prizes his jaunts to A Bella Casa to choose the perfect pillows.
“I’m a frustrated designer,” he says. “We want there to be a story behind everything you see here.” To wit, the armchairs that face Dans’ desk were fashioned from airplane seatbelts (two are found in every office). The acoustical felt wall coverings from Holland boast an embroidered diamond pattern that makes a visitor stop and notice.
But the most meaningful pieces are the works that represent three generations of Cuban art. Dans installed a 6-foot version the 20-foot-tall Cundo Bermúdez sculpture called “Flora” that stands outside the Pérez Art Museum Miami. An original Bermúdez sketch—gifted by the owner of the artist’s estate, Conrado Basulto—hangs across the room from Dans’ desk. To represent later generations, the offices feature several pieces by the controversial and sought-after artist Kcho—and a 28-piece photographic series by David Gonzales called “Moving Forward.” “For today’s generation, we commissioned David to create a collection of black-and-white reverse-negative photos of people from the knees down,” Dans explains. “They show people riding a bike, walking a dog, roller skating—all moving forward.” The series is an apt expression of Dans’ career trajectory.
Dans looks around the environment now that it has come to fruition. “I’ve never been to an office that looks like this,” he says. “We wanted something that looks like us. This is wow.”