Coinciding with the annual Art Basel show, Design Miami packed just as much energy and hype as the vibrant art event itself. With over 30 galleries from around the world, fair highlights included mid-century classics, offbeat design-art explorations, and design star project debuts.
The venue was impressive in terms of the quality of the booth sets ups, which highlighted the beauty of each piece. Keeping with the commercial purpose of art and design fairs, Design Miami is geared towards pushing sales and less about the designs and designers. Galleries did not always have the answers to specific processes used in creating the work, and at times I felt a disconnect to the spirit of the work (not to mention amenities were extremely expensive— $16-24 for a sandwich!).
Despite some of its faults, there were several noteworthy furniture debuts and gallery displays to look forward to. Here is a breakdown of some of the fair's best:
Best Use of Space
Body Building: the theme for this booth, which featured works from Atelier Biagetti, was inviting and gave me to the urge to use the workout equipment. The thick court lines were a nice framing detail to carry out the sports theme on the metallic floor. The beaver fur covered medicine balls reminded me of a modern bean bag. Although the equipment might not be optimal for performance, the hand crafted pieces exuded quality while perfectly hugging the line between art and design.
Best Line Up
Carpenters Workshop Gallery: I was impressed with the work found at CWG. There was a high level of design that ranged from playful art geared towards luxury collectors to objects experimenting with innovative materials and technology. Drift Studios FF3 light was impressive with its use of real dandelion seeds that surround LEDs on a 3D bronze open circuit. The FF3 light sparks an interesting conversation about the symbiosis between technology and nature and how they intersect with our lives.
Booth with the Best Story
The Future Perfect: Lex Pott uses a rare Belgian blue marble to create luxurious tables. The designer was able to use the wasted rough chunks left behind during mining large slabs of marble. The table top surfaces are polished to reveal a beautiful smooth surface speckled with small fossils. The booth was draped in Calico Wallpaper (the company was inspired by Pott's use of the Belgian Bluestone and developed a paint using the pigment created from the pulverized stone). During the event, the gallery staged a live demonstration of the wallpaper being painted on site with the custom paint.
Most Captivating Booth
The Afreaks collection, a collaboration between the Haas Brothers and Haas sister felt like a page out of a perfectly twisted fairy tale. While I stood underneath the canopy of a 6 ft tall mushroom, it was not difficult to feel immersed into the make believe world the Haas brothers were able to produce. The pink booth was filled with playful critters and furniture covered in vibrant and detailed beadwork.
Paul Cocksedge's Freeze Table: Cocksedge is able to build precision metal furniture without the use of any welds. His process is raw, and simple. With the use of freezing the metal before fitting the pieces the parts together, Cocksedge utilized the shrinkage that occurs during the contraction of the frozen metal. Once the metal is warmed up, the metal expands to create a very strong tension fit.
[Read more about the process in our In the Details story dedicated to the Freeze Table.]