Design Miami, our 1st Art Week Outing

Constant Companion and I broke out of Hotel California* for an afternoon of design and more; we went to Design Miami held in the Design District this year. Following best practices of the day, the fair has timed entrances and limited numbers of viewers at a time. As per my own best practice, we arrived early. Although we’re not really confined to our personal Hotel California, we tend not to roam. I wanted to be able to stroll around the high-end shopping district to discover this year’s art installations (see Dec 3, 2019 post).

Two commissioned installations fill the paseos and plazas of the District. Conscious Actions by gt2P, a Chilean design studio, is inspired by playgrounds around the world. In addition, colorful parasols fill the air all through the District.

This is interactive artwork at its best as shoppers are invited to swing. According to the press, it “reflects on the energy we consume and the energy we contribute back to the world.”

A eponymous neon piece, quoting Kurt Cobain, by Rirkrit Tiravanija is a Thai contemporary artist is nestled under an archway of a restaurant.

Mural by Japanese mural artist, Shun Sudo in the Paseo Ponti

Constant Companion and I were drawn to the Baccarat store by this billboard showing chandeliers designed by Phillippe Starck. Here’s what we found in the store.

None by Phillipe Starck

Finally our time to enter the fair arrived. Check the qr codes. Get your temperature taken. Pick up an original facemask designed by Miami-based multi-disciplinary artist Harmony Korine (

One of Design Miami’s collaborators is Maison Perrier-Jouët. We’ve enjoyed their bubbly at the fair in past times. They commission an artwork every year that expresses their relationship with art and nature. This year’s is by the Austrian design studio mischer’traxler. Curiosity Cloud chandelier is composed of 22 mouth-blown glass bulbs holding replicas of insects common in the US.  They are meant to reflect the relationship between man and nature and show the importance of biodiversity. A number of invasive species are also included, to illustrate changes to nature about by human activities such as global travel and transportation. The installation comes alive as viewers walk past.

Next was a display of limited edition t-shirts designed by Tschabalala Self, proceeds to be donated to a non-profit promoting education opportunities in Liberty City. When Constant Companion asked what Fabuloso was, two fellow fair visitors expressed surprise how someone in Miami could not know this ever-present house cleaning product. I told them that I do the shopping for the house!

a wall of Fabuloso cleaner, I don’t what scent the purple is!

Another display introduced viewers to a new recyclable packing product made from mushrooms. Unfortunately because of stabilizers added to the product, they are not edible after you’ve unwrapped your package!

As we wandered the pathway through the fair, several items caught my eye. There were the staged dinosaurs, Allosaurus and Camptosaurus.

Zaha Hadid sculpture spans the atrium

Santa Fe Shiprock Gallery had several old kachinas offered up for sale. Another gallery showed graceful, ageless shaker materials.

Climbing to the fourth floor of the building, the items on display on each level took a contemporary turn. This laminated wood furniture is by Joseph Walsh, a self-taught Irish designer; his Enignum chair as a tribute to the American textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, whose mentorship transformed his career. You can tell that I’m drawn more to the older, classic design than to today’s expressions.

This is wood, so beautiful!

The rooftop of the Moore Building has been transformed into a garden and bar. Sponsored by Perrier, Takashi Murakami jazzed up the building’s roof.

As we left the Moore Building and Design Miami and our allotted time (no one was keeping time), I was drawn to the neo-classical, 1921 Buena Vista Post Office, a longtime architectural favorite. Since we’ve lived here this building has held restaurants and clothing stores. It’s vacant now awaiting another future.

you can kind of see the billboard …

There we saw Adler Guerrier’s double billboard, Claimed for Living …, a new civic project commissioned by a group called For Freedoms. Across the street is last year’s Shepard Fairy mural, Design for Future, on the entrance of the Design and Architecture magnet high school (DASH).

And then, I observed design and beauty in an unidentified tree outside of the Moore building … amazing roots, and beautiful flowers, though one might be an open seed pod.

*If you are new to this blog, I’ve characterized the confinement most of us have enjoyed since mid March as Hotel California, as in the song by the Eagles – “… you can never leave …”


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