With over 70,000 people descending on Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach, its no wonder that the buzz surrounding the Design Miami sister show is getting louder with every year. This year's strong showing represented the increasingly international nature of the design business—the gallery list including Galerie BSL from Paris, Spazio Rossana Orlandi of Milan and Victor Hunt from Brussels alongside American favorites R20th Century and Cristina Grajales.
Primitive forms and the wonders of mother nature inspired designers to create objects of bizarre beauty. Nacho Carbonell's otherworldly works were as dramatic as Design Nucelo's monolithic metal tables that paid homage to the bronze age. Crystals and geodes continue to fascinate designers like Hella Jongerius and emerging-ceramicist Charlotte Cornaton with their spiritual properties and natural variations.
UUfie - Peacock L (at top)
Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Design Miami
Canadian-based UUfie crafted the dramatic Peacock chair from a single sheet of Corian. The mesmerizing grid casts a lovely shadow and a theatrical profile for its debut at Design Miami.
Hella Jongerius - Gemstone Side Table
Gallery Kreo, Design Miami
The iconic Dutch designer was inspired by the depths of color that occurs in natural stones like agate and malachite. Layers of translucent resin and plywood stack to form a revealing cross-section for this asymmetrical table.
Studio Job - Monkey Business
Carpenter's Workshop Gallery, Design Miami
A Swarovski-studded monkey wearing a fez stands guard over a brass treasure chest. It's not a scene from an Indiana Jones movie; it's the latest conversation-starter from Belgian designers Studio Job. An embedded LED hints at what treasures might lie inside the chest.
Richard Phillips - The Playboy Charger
Venus Over Manhattan Presents Piston Head, 1111 Lincoln Road
Ferrari's art car show in the Herzog & de Meuron-designed 1111 Lincoln Road explores how artists like Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Tom Sachs and Ron Arad have transformed the beloved automobile into sculptural works. The exhibition also included the first viewing of artist Richard Phillips' collaboration with Playboy, the "Playboy Charger."
Mangue Grove, Guilherme Torres
Swarovski Crystal Palace, Design Miami
Inspired by water conservation and stewardship, the Mangue Grove is an experimental architectural installation that incorporates tubes of amber-toned Swarovski crystals to LED kitted nodes. The architecture of Brazilian mangrove forests and mathematical theory are the foundation for Torres' exploration of nature and science.
Humans Since 1982 - a million times
Victor Hunt, Design Miami
A grid of analog clocks wind and unwind in a mesmerizing choreography for Humans Since 1982's "a million times" project. Based on "digital and alphanumerical type font possibilities," the project highlights the graphic potential of analog clock hands, entrancing viewers to literally watch time pass while clock hands rotate to finally present the time in a digital format.
Haas Brothers - Glowcano Hex Lamp
R20th Century, Design Miami
The Haas Brothers, twins Nikolai and Simon, explore nature, science fiction and psychedelia in their furniture, lighting and objects. The geometric brass hex tiles that adorn the amorphous form of this lamp are complimented by fused plexiglass streamers that erupt from the eye of the "crater."
Takura Kuwata - Untitled
Morten Løbner Espersen, Design Miami
These metal-dipped and studded vessels from young Japanese ceramicist, Takuro Kuwato, are teacups. The designer explores the limits of what he calls, "dysfunctional" ceramics in bold, candy colors. They are pictured here in the foreground with Pierre Marie Giraud's twisting larger-scale works in the background.
Maria Pergay - Chaises Lion
Fendi, Design Miami
81-year-old Parisian designer Maria Pergay renders a softness and femininity from her material of choice, stainless steel. In her 6 piece collection for Fendi, she pairs warm materials like straw, wood and furs with blossoming steel forms. Pegay's Chaises Lion is fit for royalty—it's leopard-print straw marquetry adorns the chair's steel frame, the fox armrest softens the profile.
Lee Hun Chung - Angled Concrete Bench with Ceramic Upright
Gallery Seomi, Design Miami
Using traditional clay-glazing techniques, sculptor Lee Hun Chung crafts his monolithic furniture fusing everyday materials like concrete with the more traditional materials of ceramics.
Bronze Age Table, 2013
â€¨Design Nucleo, Gabrielle Ammann Gallery
One of three tables from Design Nucleo's Metal series, the Bronze Age table is constructed entirely of welded bronze plates. The highly polished bronze insets give the table's primitive look a nice refinement.
Charlotte Cornaton - Chakra vases
Galerie BSL, Design Miami
The six vases in Cornaton's Chakra series have an otherworldly quality, the glass "crystal" formations seem to grow out of the ceramic forms. Each vase corresponds to a specific naturally occuring crystal and chakra; for example the purple vessel references amethyst and the Sahasrara chakra, the gold vessel is inspired by pyrite and the Manipura chakra.
Image courtesy of Artsy
Nacho Carbonell - Panta Rei
Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Design Miami
Nacho Carbonell's Panta Rei installation required a bit of tending. The handmade BB-Gun mounted inside a plexiglass case shoots a BB at a single point on a solid geode every hour, eventually driving a hole through the rock. The process takes about 30 days, marking the passage of time.