Returning for it's seventh year, Design Miami has grown in size with 23 galleries—there were 15 in 2010—exhibiting a mix of contemporary furniture, objects, jewellery, and an increased amount of collectable mid-century design from Europe and North America. If you were under the impression the world's economy is still recovering, it sure didn't feel like it in Miami, according to the organizers this years sales were the strongest ever with a record number of 29,000 visitors.
Some of the freshest work we came across was the furniture collection Wilderness by South African design outfit Gregor Jenkin Studio, the pieces make deep cultural references to the hardships of migrant labor and the brutality of the urban landscape. Moss took an interesting approach this year presenting the work of Professor Haresh Lalvani exploring mass customization with digital fabrication—not a new concept to core readers—but interesting to see this topic championed by one of the most influential galleries at the fair. Stand out pieces included Konstantin Grcic's stunning formula 1 inspired table, jewellery designer John Iversen's Mixed Up bracelet, Frederik Molenschot's cast bronze Citylight Chandelier, and the scrap leather work experiments by designer Elisa Strozyk and artist Sebastian Neeb for Fendi's Craft Alchemy exhibition.For collectors of the unusual, Galerie Downtown shipped over a prototype of a prefabricated school structure from France designed by Jean Prouve in 1952. Equally crowd-pleasing was the vintage booth structure for Demisch Danant designed by Pierre Paulin with a stretched material skin that zips together over a steel frame. And If you had the right space, Mark McDonald managed to acquire LOT-EK's super industrial shelving wall units built from a series of stainless steel sinks.
A shuttle bus was available to ferry visitors over to Miami's Design District where a densely populated industrial neighborhood of high-end furniture and fashion retailers hosted in-store exhibitions. While it felt like there was more art than design to explore, the highlight was undoubtedly Buckminster Fuller's recently restored 24' Fly's Eye Dome with Lord Norman Foster's recreation of Bucky's Dymaxion Car, the Dymaxion 4 parked next to it.