Last year, in the face of the pandemic, Design Miami was installed in the historic Moore building instead of its usual tent opposite the Miami Beach Convention Center, the site of Art Basel Miami Beach (see Dec. 1, 2020 post). The fair featuring thirty-five gallery and Curio exhibits has now returned to its tent, sited in the recently named Pride Park, this week.
Fairgoers are welcomed to the Park with more of Tomorrow Land that graces the Design District. The bright colors of the tent also reflect the playful installation.
The fair’s overall Design Miami theme and programming, curated by Wava Carpenter, is HumanKind with a focus on “design-led visions for a more equitable and interconnected future” (https://shop.designmiami.com/blogs/news/human-kind). Two exhibitions that reflect this theme are the Maison Perrier-Jouët and the extensive environmental installation combining the works by Jean Jacques Gallery, sculptor Nick Weddell, and Finnish ceramics artist Kim Simonsson.
With the installation “Imbodied Nature,” Austrian design studio mischer’traxler and Maison Perrier-Jouët created a commentary on the importance of biodiversity with a complex setting showing many species that emphasize the interconnectedness of all life on the planet. Intricately constructed 3D figures are paired with digital projections as well as some interactive opportunities. Below, the cormorant is represented in 3D and in the digital projection.
“Ceremony” by Jean Jacques Gallery and Austin-based sculptor Nick Weddell brings together their unique ceramics with tapestries and a geodesic dome to recreate an Ayahuasca ceremony from another planet (https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2021/12/01/in-pictures-visitors-find-a-kinder-more-humane-view-of-the-world-at-design-miami).
In an equally engaging environment visitors are welcomed into a moss covered dome set in an environment decorated with childlike rugs and Simonsson’s Moss People (https://thedecoratingdiva.com/kim-simonsson-ceramic-sculptor-design-miami/).
,What else did we see? Stone Flow is a unique collaboration between artist US artist Daniel Arsham and Kohler the global plumbing manufacturer. The giant rocks in this massive installation emulate the design of the innovative sink, Rock.01 (https://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/9340-kohler-x-daniel-arsham-debut-%E2%80%9Cstone-flow%E2%80%9D-and-rock01-at-design-mi). Arsham’s a 3D-printing technique uses vitreous ceramic. The work was designed in part as an initiative to lower the amount of water used in the company’s designs. Proceeds will support clean water projects for Navajo communities.
African designers were front and center in the show. The collaboration between Fendi and Mabeo Furnishings from Botwana feature furniture created with an network of the country’s artisans (https://www.wallpaper.com/design/fendi-peter-mabeo-collaboration-design-miami-2021).
The presentation by Southern Guild from South Africa (https://southernguild.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/DesignMiami2021_SouthernGuild_Catalogue_29.11.21.pdf), was awarded Best of Show. Featured are ceramics by four of South Africa’s most accomplished artists working in clay. The pieces commissioned specifically for this year’s show ranged from smaller studies to monumental pieces.
Several other exhibits caught my eye, drew me in, and led to conversations.
Beautiful lighting fixtures by Brooklyn-based Pele.
The recreated Grand Seiko birch forest environment (https://grandseikogs9club.com/chronicle-9/design-miami-journey-of-birch/) and working sculptural clock designed by Amsterdam design studio BCXSY (https://www.bcxsy.com/).
Thomsen Gallery’s outstanding collection of Japanese baskets are an annual favorite(https://www.designmiami.com/gallery/thomsen-gallery).
Architectural pieces from Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts including a Frank Lloyd Wright Window from the J.J. Walser, Jr. House in Oak Park, Illinois.
House of Today (HoT) featured the designs of Khaled El Mays, called New Nature. HoT is a non-profit organization committed to cultivating sustainable design culture in Lebanon and promoting Lebanese designers.
I was particularly drawn to the delicate tactile nature of the Coral Garden by Sandra Davolio, presented by J. Lohmann Gallery.
If you want to explore Design Miami further through the medium of virtual tours https://www.designmiami.com/tours/miami-2021.