Spotlight: Bell Aqüi

Take a vivacious Southern Belle. Throw in a funny Venezuelan. Mix in 3 shared decades of adventures in Miami and you have the incredible boutique firm sought by architects through out South Florida … Bell Aqüi Landscape Architecture.

Lewis was born and raised in the City of Maracaibo, Venezuela. Lewis left his native country upon completing high school to pursue his dream of studying Architecture in the United States. At only 16 years of age, all alone, and speaking only Spanish, he arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to begin studies at Louisiana State University. After mastering his second language and his core college curriculum, Lewis discovered that his passion actually lied in subjects related to nature and the environment even more so after attending a lecture by Roberto Burle Marx at LSU. Therefore, Lewis transformed his goals and earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree in 1988. After graduating, Lewis relocated to South Florida to begin his professional career in the vibrant and dynamic urban area of Miami which, to him, is similar in atmosphere and aesthetics to his native tropical home of Venezuela.

Lewis’ early career was spent as a young designer in landscape architecture firms between Naples, Florida and Miami including Smallwood Landscaping and Raymond Jungles, Inc. He learned a variety of landscape design techniques and philosophies from these early mentors which he appreciated and eventually molded into his own personal style. Lewis became a partner in the firm Hall & Bell, P.A. working with Susan Hall and Deena Bell in 1996, and became a partner in the same firm which evolved into the firm Bell + Aqüí Landscape Architecture, LLC (BALA) in 2008.

When Lewis is not designing in the office or managing projects under construction, he is traveling around the world for enjoyment and artistic inspiration. Lewis is a talented designer, artist and photographer who is influenced by bold, contemporary art and architecture.

Self- taught, with no formal training in photography, Lewis has an eye for creating photographic stories from a unique and imaginative perspective.

Lewis’ greatest satisfaction with photography is to capture scenes of our everyday environment creating images that render sharp focus, detail and dramatic contrast with one goal in mind: To create a view of common elements that may have been photographed thousands of times before, but have never been rendered in such a unique perspective. Always fascinated by the striking composition of plant materials and the landscapes surrounding us, Lewis’ photographic art and landscape design are a modern abstraction of nature: bold, energetic, colorful, and enigmatic.

Deena Bell Llewellyn was born February 25, 1968 in Gainesville, Georgia, a charming community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northeast Georgia. Her love of nature and the outdoors was realized by Deena at an early age. A large portion of her childhood was spent enjoying water activities on Lake Lanier in her neighborhood: Fishing, swimming, skiing, boating, walking nature trails, hiking to waterfalls, and painting mountain landscapes were her favorite pastimes. An interest in art, architecture, and stewardship of the environment influenced Deena to pursue a degree in Landscape Architecture from the School of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. After participating in a rigorous five year program under Dean Darryl Morrison, Deena graduated Magna Cum Laude in the spring of 1991.

After college graduation in 1991, Deena moved to Miami, Florida where the possibilities of practicing Landscape Architecture in an exciting and vibrant tropical environment were irresistible. Deena began her professional career in 1991 as a young and enthusiastic designer with the firm Susan Hall and Associates, Landscape Architects in Coral Gables, Florida. In 1996, Deena earned her professional license as a registered Landscape Architect and became a partner in her firm. In 1997, her firm gained another talented partner, Mr. Lewis Aqui. After over a decade as the successful partnership of Hall Bell Aqui, the firm evolved into Bell + Aqui Landscape Architecture, with Deena as President, in December of 2008. Deena most recently became a pioneer of the green building movement in South Florida, and earned the designation of LEED AP in 2009.

When Deena is not designing, drawing or painting, she enjoys participating in philanthropic endeavors and enjoys volunteering for community service projects with the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, or Citizens for a Better South Florida, where she is a board member for both organizations.

She is an active member of the Dade Heritage Trust, and the American Society of Landscape Architects, as well.20120701-112431.jpg20120701-112439.jpg20120701-112446.jpg20120701-112452.jpg

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