Setting the Scene
The cinematic weekend retreat of Hollywood movie producer Avi Arad and his family offers a worldly take on Malibu living.
“Bare feet, torn T-shirts, playing in the waves with my dog, and long sunset walks are the essence of my life in Malibu,” says filmmaker Avi Arad of the beach house he shares with his wife, Joyce, and their three children. The producer, famous for comic-book blockbusters like Spider-Man and X-Men, has happily embraced one of the world’s most enviable lifestyles. “Even as a boy of meager means in Israel, I always loved being on the beach.” So when a prime oceanfront lot came on the market, the couple jumped and set about building a new home with designers Richard Hallberg and Barbara Wiseley, who had also designed their Beverly Hills residence.
Though the Greek island of Mykonos provided inspiration for the architecture and landscaping, the beachfront house could be located anywhere. “Our goal was for it to feel like you’re in another world without having to get on a plane,” says Hallberg. “We started with what it was supposed to feel like, then we sketched and it slowly evolved.” At the same time, there’s something distinctly Malibu about it. “And we chose materials that are strong and pure, which reminds us that this is a place of peace,” adds Joyce.
The property is entered via a lushly planted courtyard that encloses a guesthouse and sitting area, and often the grandchildren’s toys. The stone underfoot (reclaimed from French chateaux) flows directly inside, unifying the entire floor plan, and the bronze-framed doors seem to disappear as the ocean comes into view.
“It’s carefree,” says Hallberg, noting that it’s the mix of new and antique furnishings, textured materials, and objects from ancient cultures that coin the prevailing mystique. “We wanted this house to look like everything had drifted in off the ocean.” The key to continuity, he stresses, is the integrity of disparate elements: “All the pieces have a similar substantiality—the woven baskets, the matchstick blinds.”
Between the designers’ vision and ideas from Joyce, an artist, the result is at once a meditation on impermanence and an intimate portrait. “Everything can weather here,” notes Hallberg. “The older it gets, the more beautiful it will become.” The one constant is the coastline. “My favorite room is not a room, actually,” Avi admits. “It’s sitting on the beach, clearing my mind from everyday issues and filling it with the poetic view of Malibu.”
Written by Maile Pingel.
Photography by Miguel Flores-Vianna.