A barometer more for establishing what will become a future design classic than what is hot right now, some of these examples from the recent design fair have potential to filter down to the mass market.
For those who haven’t had the opportunity to visit South Beach for Design Miami the first week in December, it is easier to tell you what it’s not, then what it is. You won’t be confronted by a massive exhibition hall full of manufacturers and vendors all competing for attention. Design Miami is the furthest thing from a trade show. Instead, a carefully selected list of design-centric galleries and retailers are invited to show works which they deem important to people passionate about owning and collecting limited and or mass produced items. It is an event celebrating functional art.
This year we saw a few common threads between the exhibitors. The show itself annually selects a ‘Designer of the Year’ which happened to be London based architect David Adjaye. His name might not be familiar in comparison to Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid or Daniel Liebeskind, but Adjaye’s recent work on the the National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington along with his interest in collaborating with artists were significant points in securing the award. Adjaye is on the way to icon status, but several other galleries within the exhibition tent selected other names to feature as future industry influencers. We’ve already mentioned the work of Gregor Jenkin Studio from South Africa.
Modernity Gallery – Stockholm presented new work from Hong Kong based designer Michael Young exploring the use of carbon fiber, recycled paper and cast aluminium.
Dr. Haresh Lalvani was featured by Moss – New York. Lalvani has been creating digitally derived sculptures and objects out of laser-cut sheet steel. His work it akin to a modern take on something Buckminster Fuller might have explored with today’s tools.
Speaking of Fuller, a satellite exhibition of his restored Dymaxion car and house were possibly the ultimate must have pieces for the collector with enough space to house them.
Christien Meindersma / t.e. creates furniture pieces with contemporary silhouettes and artfully detailed surfaces. Cabinets exhibited by Priveekollektie Contemporary Art|Design featured floral designs created with dies derived from natural materials.
Fendi asked designer Elisa Strozyk and artist Sebastian Need to collaborate on a performance project transforming a traditional craft process. The pair augmented and recreated a series of 18th century furniture pieces using discarded Fendi leather swatches.
Browse our collection of images from 2011 Design Miami to see what else caught our eye.