What to See at Design Miami/ 2023
On the occasion of Miami Art week, design lovers have descended upon the city’s Pride Park for the 19th edition of Design Miami/. Showcasing collectible works across 40 gallery and curio presentations, the fair was assembled around the central theme, Where We Stand. “It’s an invitation to explore the storytelling power of design,” said 2023 Curatorial Director, Anna Carnick. The Berlin-based curator, writer, and editor put forth this charge to celebrate the ways in which design can be used as an agent for connection. Showcasing objects inspired by place, identity, and heritage, the fair’s massive tents house a dynamic and well-curated collection of work from leading global designers. These were a few of our favorites.
Gallery FUMI at Design Miami/
Beginning with the fair’s Best Gallery award recipient, London-based Gallery FUMI presented a whimsical collectible assortment against a bold burgundy backdrop. In addition to the striking, seven-foot Armadillo sculptural screen of hand-pigmented layers of wooden shingles by German designer Lukas Wegwerth, Apparatus co-founder Jeremy Anderson presented sizable totemic works, including three human-sized floor lamps and three suspended pendants, dubbed “Space Relics.” These totemic works made from clay adorned with luster recall themes of space and a utopian planet with their domed, disc-shaped elements. Occupying nearly an entire wall, Placuna Lignorum, a new decorative work by British sculptor Rowan Mersh, comprises many thousands of carefully assembled wooden pieces.
Tuleste Factory at Design Miami/
A Curio presentation from New York-based gallery Tuleste Factory, “The Zone” delves into merging present and future, light and vastness, technology and physical materials, exploring the notion of hidden parallel worlds. Inspired by teleportive cinematic experiences like 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Skin I Live In, “The Zone” includes a composition of illuminated resin tiles from Facture, alongside materials like stone, acrylic, wood, aluminum, and leather, embodying experimentation and promoting creativity within this metaphorical space. Sharp edges like that of the Thong Chair from Kouros Maghsoudi are contrasted by gently curving, organic forms. Ezra Ardolino of advanced fabrication studio Timbur presented three amorphous tables. Using Tumbur’s unique process of stack lamination, the birch plywood and resin works utilize advanced robotics and CNC manufacturing to bring these large-scale, digitally-generated pieces to life.
A modern celebration of traditional Indian craftsmanship æquō
India’s first collectible design gallery, æquō, made their Design Miami/ debut with a presentation of bold, sculptural furnishings atop a textural tatami mat platform. Established in 2022 by Tarini Jindal Handa, æquō, rooted in the Latin word for “equal”’ symbolizes the synergy between designer and technique. The gallery celebrates all practices of making, tracking the transformative journey in creating contemporary objects that harmonize tradition and innovation. The booth included an impressive demonstration of work from the gallery’s Creative Director, Florence Louisy. A graduate of the esteemed Academy Eindhoven, the French designer presented a series of over 20 pieces forged from various materials including oxidized copper, plated brass, stainless steel, wool felt, and glass powder.
A serene space for reflection by Rive Roshan
In a solo presentation of work from Amsterdam design duo Rive Roshan, Rademakers Gallery debuted a rose-colored Curio titled “The Space in Between.” The living-room-like space, complete with custom drapery and a rug made in collaboration with Moooi, aims to use design as a means to foster reflection, fresh perspectives, and connections in a divided world. Rive Roshan crafts transformative objects employing light, movement, and reflection, showcased through textured glass panels and 3D-printed sand vessels. Their artful creations challenge perceptions and emotions, aiming to inspire mindful observation and empathy in viewers amidst a polarized world.
Naimh Barry’s debut furnishings at Maison Gerard
New York-based modern and contemporary design gallery Maison Gerard presented a showcase of eight female contemporary designers hailing from eight different countries. Among these talents, Irish artist Niamh Barry, renowned for her innovations in LED lighting, presented her first foray into furniture design. Inspired by the fluid forms found in nature as well as the movements of the human body, Barry debuted a dynamic, blue patinated bronze table titled ‘Shouldering’ and the mirror-polished ‘Ghost’ bench. The exhibit is anchored by her latest lighting sculpture, ‘In the Eyes Of,’ suspended overhead. This compelling piece comprises three illuminated vessel elements crafted in brown patina on solid bronze.
A quirky presentation from Side Gallery
In a playful presentation from Barcelona-based Side Gallery, a number of familiar objects have been reimagined into thought-provoking works of furniture and lighting. Berlin-based architect and designer Sam Chermayeff presents the “Street Light Table” as part of a collection aiming to reimagine the particular applications of furniture elements. Nearby, Koren designer Gyuhan Lee uses McDonald’s bags as shades for three, geometric floor lamps supported by insect-like steel legs. An impressive, hand-carved stool from Prague-based designer Tadeas Podracky creates symmetry within a complex, undulating form. The booth also included works from notable female designers Sabine Marcelis and Charlotte Kingsnorth.
Villa Albertine x Mobilier National at Design Miami/
Within a space designed by French curator Alban Roger, French artist residency Villa Albertine and the country’s Mobilier National presented five emerging designers. Their collective work reimagines various French decorative arts through a contemporary prism, blending tradition with avant-garde expressions through reimagined, artisanal techniques.
Each designer engaged in a custom research project to address a number of societal questions: Atelier d’Offard, whose work presents as a series of sculptural columns supporting paper arches, champions minimalist living through immersive spaces using washi paper and eco-friendly papier-mâché; Atelier George’s “Solar Suspension” explores celestial inspiration with opaline white and veined color glass planets; Gala Espel puts a new spin on silversmithing with “Archaeology of the Future,” while Chloé Bensahel merges textile traditions and digital performance in an interactive tapestry; And rounding out the showcase, Dimitry Hlinka’s “Amplitude” reimagines the everyday radiator with abstract woodworking lines.