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Elizabeth Garouste and Carmen D'Apollonio

Emerging Trends To Watch at Design Miami.Basel 2024

This year’s 18th edition reveals a sophisticated interplay of trends, from the intricate exploration of materiality and the fusion of historical and contemporary design to boundary-pushing innovations and global cultural exchange.

In the realm of design, few events captivate the imagination quite like Design Miami.Basel. From June 11 to 16, 2024, with a preview on June 10, collectors, designers, and aficionados converge to witness and participate in this unparalleled convergence of creativity and craftsmanship. This year’s 18th edition reveals a sophisticated interplay of trends, from the intricate exploration of materiality and the fusion of historical and contemporary design to boundary-pushing innovations and global cultural exchange. Each trend underscores a commitment to redefining the boundaries of collectible design, making Design Miami.Basel 2024 a crucible of transformative ideas and world-class creativity.

Honoring Gaetano Pesce and Exploring Materiality

This year’s fair is particularly poignant as it honors the late Gaetano Pesce, a titan whose avant-garde visions reshaped our understanding of design. Friedman Benda, Pulp Galerie, and downtown+ present a collaborative homage, showcasing seminal works spanning from the 1970s to the present. This tribute is a dialogue with Pesce’s enduring influence on contemporary design, featuring key works that highlight his innovative use of materials and his radical approach to form.

Materiality takes center stage this year, with exhibitions exploring the transformative potential of various substances. Objects with Narratives presents Ben Storms’ “Liquid Solids”, characterized by dynamic processes that push material boundaries. At Basel, Storms embraces fluidity, permeating his creative process and transitional works, extending to the booth’s scenography. A layer of water on the floor creates the illusion of floating volumes and objects, dissolving certainty upon entry. His designs showcase a captivating interplay between different states and qualities. From consoles and wall pieces to coffee tables and room dividers, the forms appear suspended in transformation. His new series, “Crushed”, starts with sheets of metal welded into transitory shapes, then transformed under intense pressure in an almost instinctive process. Storms’ works in glass and onyx further challenge notions of permanence, with glass morphing from stone to water and onyx evoking aeons-long processes of water and mineral seepage.

Ben Storms Left: Ex Hale Cast Coffee Table, 2022 by Ben Storms from Objects with Narratives at Design Miami Basel. Image courtesy of Alexander Popelier and Objects with Narratives. Right: Alu Casted Marble Composition Wallpiece, 2024 by Ben Storms for Objects with Narratives at DESIGN MIAMI.BASEL 2024. Image courtesy of Alexander Popelier and Objects with Narratives.

Returning Galleries and the Showcasing of Iconic Works

In a complementary exploration of materiality, Galerie Gastou (Paris) returns to the Basel fair, focusing on the versatility and beauty of plastic. The gallery’s exhibition delves into the design philosophies of Shiro Kuramata and Gaetano Pesce, juxtaposing Kuramata’s serene minimalism with Pesce’s baroque extravagance. This careful curation highlights the aesthetic potential of plastic, showcasing its ability to embody both the understated elegance of Kuramata and the lavish theatricality of Pesce. Galerie Gastou elevates plastic from its mundane associations to a material of high artistic expression, demonstrating its broad range of creative uses.

Shiro Kuramata and Claude Lalanne Left: Cabinet de Curiosité, 1989 by Shiro Kuramata from Galerie Gastou at Design Miami Basel 2024. Image courtesy of Galerie Gastou. Right: Fauteuil Crocodile, 2015 by Claude Lalanne from Galerie Mitterrand at Design Miami Basel 2024. Photo by Rebecca Fanuele. Image courtesy Galerie Mitterrand.

Galerie Mitterrand (Paris) contributes to the theme of materiality by showcasing iconic works by the renowned designer couple, François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne. The exhibition features a unique “Choupatte” by Claude Lalanne, dating back to the 1960s, alongside a set of three “Oies” by François-Xavier Lalanne. “Le Choupatte” is one of Claude Lalanne’s earliest works, demonstrating her virtuosic use of the galvanoplasty technique, where cabbage leaves are immersed in an electrolytic bath to obtain copper imprints. This celebration of the Lalannes’ sculptural vision adds another layer of depth to the fair’s exploration of how different materials can be transformed into extraordinary works of art.

Fusing Historical Significance with Contemporary Design

Honoring historical significance and fusing it with contemporary design is another trend at the fair this year. Making its DESIGN MIAMI.BASEL debut, Maxime Flatry (Paris) presents an exhibition dedicated to the timeless legacy of Jean-Michel Frank. Primarily focusing on Frank’s quest to design simplicity by essentializing forms and spaces, Maxime Flatry’s presentation acts as a tribute to the creator who has left an indelible mark on the arts and design landscape. First-time exhibitor Galerie Eva Presenhuber (Zurich/Vienna) also presents a solo exhibition dedicated to works by Franz West. West places everyday items—from chairs and tables to coat racks and bookshelves—through his sculptural lens and approach to design. The presentation spotlights how West challenges the way design is experienced and defined, through repositioning its interpretation as both a sculptural and social experience.

Pulp Galerie (Paris) presents an exhibition dedicated to the works of the late Gaetano Pesce, offering an impressive collection of early pieces, most of which have been acquired from the private collection of Dutch photographers Petra and Erik Esmerg, who shot many of Pesce’s works over his celebrated career. The booth scenography, inspired by an Italian garden, invites visitors to promenade around the pieces as if viewing antique sculptures. Key highlight pieces include furniture first shown at the Centre Pompidou 1996 exhibition, Le temps des questions, including the Pratt chair n°7 and Sick (or Sikh) Cabinet, handmade by Gaetano Pesce himself for the exhibition.

Collaborative and Innovative Presentations Unfold

Turning our gaze to the past century, a collaborative presentation within the Design at Large program by Ketabi Bourdet x LAFFANOUR (Paris) offers a moment of historical significance. Together, they showcase Robert Wilson’s “Hamletmachine” table and chairs, designed for the premiere of the eponymous play staged at NYU Theater in New York in 1986. Wilson, a celebrated director and visual artist, is known for his stage furniture, which plays an integral role in the overall impact of his productions. The “Hamletmachine” table and chairs are particularly notable for their dramatic minimalism.

Innovative design that pushes boundaries is also the lifeblood of the fair. Friedman Benda (New York/Los Angeles) returns to DESIGN MIAMI.BASEL to present a dynamic setting showcasing the vibrancy of emerging voices, punctuated by key works from influential, established figures. This group installation focuses on sculptural works by eight visionary designers, including Ini Archibong, Wendell Castle, Enrico Marone Cinzano, Carmen D’Apollonio, Misha Kahn, Samuel Ross, Ettore Sottsass, and Barbora Žilinskaitė.

Friedman Benda Installation image Installation view courtesy of Friedman Benda.

Reveling in Organic Forms with Global Cultural Exchange

193 Gallery (Paris) presents an original exhibition designed by Ben Arpea, titled “Sphere”, as part of the Curio program. The exhibition explores the symbiosis between organic forms inspired by nature and everyday functionality. Each piece in the collection invites a dialogue between the natural environment and the living space in which the design resides: from the soft, curving lines of the Mediterranean shore to the raw textures of wood and stone. Through boundary-pushing craftsmanship and techniques, Arpea works with natural materials including wood, stone, concrete, marble, travertine, and ceramics, carefully revealing their inherent beauty.

Global cultural exchange is another prominent theme at Design Miami.Basel 2024, with Pierre Marie Giraud showcasing designers from diverse backgrounds, fostering a dialogue that highlights the intersection of global design practices. This exhibition features works by American, Japanese, and European designers, representing the pinnacle of contemporary design and celebrating the rich tapestry of international artistic expression. Thomsen Gallery’s focus on Japanese bamboo art and ceramics offers a deep dive into the meticulous craftsmanship that has defined Japanese aesthetics for centuries. The gallery presents masterpieces from the Golden Age of Japanese basketry, complemented by ceramics and lacquer boxes that highlight the evolution of these traditional crafts.

Tanabe Chikuunsai Il and Daisuke Iguchi Left: Basket for Flowers in the Form of an Abacus Bead, with Lacquered Arrow Shafts, 1940s by Tanabe Chikuunsai Il from Thomsen Gallery at Design Miami Basel 2024. Image courtesy of Thomsen Gallery. Right: Daisuke Iguchi, 2023 from Pierre Marie Giraud at Design Miami Basel 2024. Photo by Tadayuki Minamoto. Image courtesy of Pierre Marie Giraud.

Uniting 20th Century Design Luminaries and Looking Towards the Future

Angela Weber Möbel showcases a selection of 20th-century design icons from Italy, America, and the Nordic countries, including works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Samuel Marx, Vladimir Kagan, and Gio Ponti. Galerie Eric Philippe continues this international dialogue with pieces by American and Swedish Modernists, such as a steel sofa by Paul László and a bronze gong by Harry Bertoia, highlighting the global influence on modern design.

As the fair continually evolves, pushing the boundaries of design innovation, it stands as a vital platform for creative collaboration and cultural exchange, shaping the future of design for years to come. Pierre Marie Giraud (Brussels) delves into cross-cultural dialogue through a meticulously curated selection of designers from the United States, Japan, and Europe. This exhibition epitomizes the zenith of design excellence, celebrating the talent and diverse artistic expressions from around the globe, providing a vibrant confluence where the rich cultural heritage of each designer converges and interweaves.

In a country-specific approach to curation, Thomas Fritsch-ARTRIUM (Paris) exhibits an array of French ceramics dating from 1945 to 1970. Highlighted designers include Pablo Picasso, Jacques Pouchain, Georges Jouve, and Jean Derval, among others. Thomsen Gallery (New York) concentrates on Japanese craftsmanship, specifically featuring bamboo baskets created by the esteemed masters of Japanese bamboo art, such as Iizuka Rōkansai, Tanabe Chikuunsai, and Maeda Chikubōsai. The exhibition presents masterpieces from the first half of the 20th century, considered the Golden Age of Japanese basketry, alongside contemporary works by current bamboo masters. Complementing the baskets are Japanese ceramics from the 15th to 21st centuries, Japanese gold lacquer boxes from the 20th century, and an exceptional pair of Japanese folding screens.

Design Miami.Basel 2024 presents an impressive showcase of collectible objects and acts as a platform where the dialogues between the contemporary and historic design are forged. Through its celebration of materiality, historical reverence, cultural dialogue, and avant-garde innovation, this year’s fair promises to leave a notable mark on the international design landscape. For those who seek to understand the currents shaping the future of design, Design Miami/Basel 2024 offers an opportunity to engage with the most compelling trends and design works of our time.

Elizabeth Garouste and Carmen D'Apollonio Left: Console Lilith, 2023 by Elizabeth Garouste from Ketabi Bourdet Design at Design Miami Basel 2024. Image courtesy of Studio Shapiro. Right: From Glendale to Paris, 2022 by Carmen D’Apollonio from Friedman Benda at Design Miami Basel 2024. Photo by Evan Bedford. Image courtesy of Friedman Benda.

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