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Designers team up for Four Seasons’ landscape projects

Posted On: 11-11-2014

By Kaki Holt Special to the Daily News

Landscape designer Fernando Wong, who burst onto the Palm Beach scene two years ago thanks to his fresh design aesthetic, recently signed on to redesign South Florida’s Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

In order to handle his existing residential projects, as well as the Four Seasons makeovers, Wong last month brought in landscape architect Phil Maddux, who will serve as president. Maddux will divide his time between the company’s Miami and Worth Avenue offices.

“Mostly I’ll be managing the firm so they’re free to do what they do best,” Maddux said, referring to Wong and partner Tim Johnson.

Maddux, a partner in the Palm Beach firm Sanchez & Maddux for 30 years, also will collaborate on design and planning.

“We’ve definitely got a lot going on,” said Johnson. “These projects certainly were a factor in our adding someone of Maddux’s stature to our team.

”In addition to that Palm Beach Four Seasons makeover, Wong and his team have already begun redesigning Miami’s Surf Club in Surfside. He is working closely with renowned architect Richard Meier on landscaping and gardens that will meld the original 1930 Surf Club’s Mediterranean style with Meier’s new modernistic glass structure.

“We are working with the architect to help determine how the building is going to look,” said Johnson about the Four Seasons. Known for his eye-catching hardscapes, Wong prefers to work with architects early in the design process.

Early experiences

Wong has won kudos for landscapes ranging from the Art Deco home that earned the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation’s Schuler Award to grand beachfront estates. Maddux was struck by the newcomer’s talent early on.

“As soon as I saw his work, I realized he has a tremendous ability to adapt his designs to each site,” Maddux said.

Both Wong and Maddux began by getting their hands dirty. Even though Wong had trained as an architect in his native Panama, his lack of English landed him on a landscape crew.

“He was literally digging ditches,” Johnson said. “He taught himself English watching South Park on TV.

”Once his boss saw his drawings, though, Wong was put in charge of the company’s design drawings. Maddux, on the other hand, started working for a Coral Gables garden center when he was in high school.

“I did everything from bagging manure to making deliveries,” Maddux said.

Maddux puts his hands-on enthusiasm to work in his own garden. He’s planted thousands of subtropical varieties to create a rain forest surrounding his home in Stuart.

“I’m amazed at all the new plants I’ve discovered there,” said Johnson. “We’re very grateful to have a man who’s that knowledgeable. We are pleased with our collaboration.

 

Source: Kaki Holt, November 11, 2014, Palm Beach Daily News

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Zimmerman Douglas Elliman

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