This year, Design Miami/ heads to Basel for its 10th iteration. Over the past decade, the fair has become one of the most important forums for the global design community—growing bigger with each passing season. To celebrate this milestone, Design Miami/ is staging its most monumental fair to date, with the return of 12 of its founding galleries and an over-the-top architecture exhibition curated by André Balazs, featuring a Jean Prouvé filling station retooled by architect Richard Rogers.
As with any anniversary, Design Miami/ is taking a moment to look forward, with a high concentration of new galleries and young designers. The fair’s immersive Design Curio program will also make its Basel debut with a lineup of programs including installations by dzek and MANIERA. If fresh talent is what you are after, here are five stops not to miss.
British designer Max Lamb travels far and wide to source both materials and inspiration. This year the peripatetic designer reveals one of his most extreme creations to date—his “Marmoreal” room with dzek, the material-based design initiative started by curator Brent Dzekciorius. Lamb’s project takes the form of an alluring environment in which every element is rendered in a special terrazzo that dzek helped the designer produce. Man-made out of huge hunks of colorful marble and a polyester binder, the stone-like material brings to mind a sophisticated take on the Flintstones.
At Gallery Fumi, Lamb presents “Metalware,” a collection of brass and copper chairs that expand upon the tubular lexicon of “Woodware,” a seating and table series he created for the design outpost in 2011. Rigid in their form, his soldered seats demonstrate Lamb’s ability to create process-based work in a way that feels sincere rather than forced.
Beirut-based designer Marc Dibeh is a self-proclaimed storyteller, but his work, a mixture of thoughtful furniture and design objects, speaks for itself. Dibeh began his career at Marc Baroud’s studio, where they worked together on a number of joint projects, like their coolly minimal “Wires” collection. At Design Miami/, Dibeh shares the latest chapter from his portfolio: a new series of mirrors cheekily named “Please Don’t Tell Mom.” His purposefully broken mirrors—rendered in walnut and rose-gold stainless steel—are the product of a fortuitous accident that inspired the designer to experiment with ideas of distortion and reflection. Clever and simple, Dibeh’s sepia-toned sculptures are further illuminated by his new lighting work: desk-sized spotlights inspired by Lebanese gallerist Souheil Hanna’s artful home.
One look at a series like “Hair Highway,” a collection of ponytail-striped resin boxes, and it is easy to understand the appeal of Studio Swine, the Anglo-Japanese design collaborative co-founded by architect Azusa Murakami and artist Alexander Groves. Driven by research, the duo captured the imagination of an international audience by opening up the forgotten corners of academia with a joyful curiosity. The result: things like their “Sao Paulo” collection of quirky cactus-inspired lamps made out of recycled coke-bottles—a visual celebration of Brazilian tropical modernism of the ’50s created with local resources.
This year, Design Miami/ Basel and Swarovski are recognizing Murakami and Groves with the Designer of the Future award—another coup for the pair. Not surprisingly, crystals are the basis for the duo’s presentation at the fair, which takes the form of an installation inspired by a fictitious crystal planet. What will take your breath away is what you’ll find inside “Terraforming,” futuristic digital hourglasses and cymatic tables whose surfaces react to sound frequencies.
Classically trained as a metalsmith, American designer Jaydan Moore toys with ideas of memory by transforming modern heirlooms—namely baroque, silver-plated tea service ware from the 1940 to the ’70s—into sculpture. Charming and curious, Moore’s mutant creations first caught our eye at Collective Design, where they debuted at Ornamentum’s booth. Caked with the patina of their previous owners, these spliced platters and trays reflect upon issues of authenticity and the intriguing paradox created by a mass-produced family heirloom that is designed to look like an antiquity. Moore’s attention to craftsmanship adds yet another rich layer onto these up-cycled personal relics. He’s a raconteur with silver.
Observation plays a big role in Portuguese designer Leonor Antunes’s work, which is informed by her surroundings and especially by the juxtaposition of architecture and craft. Her varied practice, a mixture of sculpture, metalwork, and weaving, is a testament to the multidimensional way that Antune likes to respond to her environment.
The artist will soon work her magic in an upcoming solo show at New York’s New Museum, her site-specific sculptures swallowing the lobby. Those eager to see her newest pieces can find them at Galleri Feldt’s booth, where the artist is unveiling graphic lamps made out of perforated powder-coated steel. The tube-shaped lights are sized to the height of the artist and her daughter, so that they fit inside each other—a perfect pairing.
—by Kat Herriman