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Guilherme Torres Mangue Groove Swarovski Crystal Palace

Best in Show: Design Miami/ 2013

Design Miami/ is back again with it’s signature blend of well-curated decorative art, jewelry (and lots of it this year), and furniture.  The entrance, designed by architect firm Formlessfinder, appears to be the Design Miami/ roof perched on the apex of a massive pile of sand.  In reality, the sand abuts a hidden wooden wall providing a shaded sitting area for attendees.

As in every year, Design Miami/ features several special collaborations between it’s sponsors and artists. There were many new exhibitors this year, as well as longtime participants. This year was no exception to stunning works inspired by Swarovski, Perrier-Jouet, and Fendi. In the Swarovski Crystal Palace, Brazilian artist Guilherme Torres creates a stunning and mysterious Mangue Groove, an homage to conservation efforts to protect the mangrove forests in Brazil. The work itself is a vast and sparkling network of synthetic tubes filled with Swarovski crystals linked together by wooden geodes. As you walk along a boardwalk beneath the crystal branches, you almost feel as if you are walking among a molecule’s cell structure, albeit an enormous version.

Guilherme Torres
Mangue Groove Swarovski Crystal Palace

Another lovely collaboration is Perrier-Jouet’s commission by London-based artist Simon HeijdensPhare No. 1-9 is an experiential piece, comprising of a series of liquid-filled bulbs, suspended at staggered intervals and lit from above. Each bulb seems to be filled with water, though upon closer inspection, each is streaked with lines of lavender, magically suspended in the inert liquid. The effect is both haunting and calming, yet somehow looking at the bulbs feels akin to gazing through a freshly-poured champagne flute.

To peruse the halls of Design Miami/ is a delight for the visual sense. Here are a few of our most coveted objets.

Renate Müller
Therapeudic Toys R 20th Century

We really enjoyed the stuffed rhinos and hippos by Renate Müller at R 20th Century. These playful guys were originally designed by Müller to be used as physical therapy aids for handicapped children throughout Germany.  Each is handmade by the artist and look to be as fun for adults as they are for children.

The booth for Galerie BSL in Paris is a vision of light, crystal, and metallic brass. We loved the series of rock crystal tables (Giant Crystal Sun and Crystal Sun) by Taher Chemirik, and the glass light sculptures (Soma the Rest) by Ayala Serafaty. The Chakras Sculptures and Single Stem Vases by Charlotte Cornaton were also a visual treat. We’ll take all of them, please!

Reinier Bosch
WHAAM! Priveekollektie Comtemporary Art/Design

There were a lot of fun and whimiscal light displays, including Atrid Krogh‘s fiber optic hanging tapestry at Galerie Maria Wettergren, which is constantly twinkling at the ends of thousands of strands of colored fiber optics. It’s a beautiful display piece that brings a hint of magic to it’s surroundings.

We were delighted by Nucleo‘s Souvenir of the Last Century at gabrielle ammann // gallery, a series of wooden stools encased in resin. The spindly stool suspended in distressed resin seems to almost melt into the liquified plastic. The pieces were an interesting dichotomy of old media and new, and literally fusing them together.

Philipe Hiquily
sculpture/cradle Magen H Gallery

When we have babies we’ll want the one-of-a-kind metal cradle by Philipe Hiquily at Magen H Gallery. It’s simple beauty and graceful shape make up for perhaps it’s lack of practical function. In any case, we hope one lucky baby gets to sleep in it.

The award for cheekiest furniture design goes to Reinier Bosch‘s WHAAM! at Priveekollektie Contemprary Art|Design. Pop Art meets home design in his chic light-up, mirrored coffee table.

Astrid Krogh
Galerie Maria Wettergren

All in all, design-lovers and collectors will appreciate the scope of period and contemporary works and newcomers will find an incredible wealth of wonderful, unique pieces. It’s definitely worth the trip.

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