The next time traffic leaves you trapped somewhere near Miami Beach’s South of Fifth area, glance up at Apogee. Its glorious balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows with impenetrable panes that offer residences an outdoor feeling, will have you wondering who’s responsible for constructing this architectural glass gem. The answer is Raul Casares, who emigrated from Cuba more than 50 years ago with dreams of building an empire of his own in Miami, a place he refers to as “the land of milk and honey.”
And build he did.
RC Aluminum, which produces windows, sliding doors, hurricane shutters, railings and more, currently sits on an expansive slab of land in Doral. The complex houses warehouse upon warehouse of products both signature to the brand as well as in-development.
Since creating RC Aluminum in the 1990’s, Casares has watched his annual revenue increase 50-fold as the brand transitioned from catering to South Florida exclusively to currently outfitting properties on the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean and Central America.
And while the primary focus is high-end residential buildings like Apogee, Icon South Beach, Acqualina Resort and Trump Tower, other projects include major commercial venues like the American Airlines Arena. Subdivisions specialize in creating products for upscale single-family homes and office buildings, designing hurricane shutters, and remodeling existing buildings to bring them up to code.
Casares invited us into his private home where we were able to gain insight into his world, one where exponential growth is nothing short of promised and where the traditional Cuban values of family, friends, and the overall enjoyment of life reign supreme.
The calculated businessman stood proud, bedecked in coordinated sport coat and pocket square. He spoke of his state-of-the-art grill, cleverly hidden on the balcony behind a remote-controlled, retractable, RC Aluminum-branded panel; his upcoming escape to his home in the Bahamas; and the soon-to-be-released balcony thresholds which will don a low-profile lip to avoid tripping. Each subject was approached with a joie de vivre that seems to run rampant in Casa Casares.
The Wade Hallock-designed interior is plush and regal without the museum quality that can make a home cold. It’s punctuated with signs of love and good times, most of which with his other half, Cuban beauty Idalia Nunez. Nunez was on-hand to make sure Casares nailed the shoot.
In the master bedroom, Cesares’ closet reads quite like a department store; totally coordinated, and enviably organized. And the threads, an entire rainbow of suits and jackets, he proudly announces are direct from the outpost of his dear friends at Italian menswear clothing company, Damiani, with whom he would meet for lunch after the shoot.
After the shoot, Cesares had one more quick change and whisked us down the private elevator to the valet where he mounted his Ferrari like a knight. Apogee inhabitants rest assured, should anything occur, they’re safely tucked away behind an arsenal of RC Aluminum products, products that Casares puts his own personal safety behind.