The 2019 edition of Design Miami/ opens today, celebrating its fifteenth year with 33 galleries and 14 curios. On view through Sunday, December 8, the presentations are by some of world’s the top gallerists, designers, and curators, surrounding the theme “Elements: Water.” Following Aric Chen’s debut role as Curatorial Director at Design Miami/ Basel last June, Chen’s second fair will welcome presenters from 13 countries, including two new galleries—Galerie Scene Ouverte and Erik Thomsen Gallery.
Below, Whitewall is highlighting some booths and works that were reflective of this year’s theme or just downright cool.
Upon entering the fair, we were transfixed by a real-time video installation entitled “Coral City Camer” by artist-scientist duo Coral Morphologic. Presented by Bas Fisher Invitational and Bridge Initiative, the piece shines light on the pioneering coral reef organisms in Miami. For the live stream, the duo worked with researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in February 2020, it will premiere online.
Paris-based Galerie Philippe Gravier’s showcase was full of striking furniture design pieces—all chairs, reimagined with a futuristic or very artistic spin. New York-based Jason Jacques Gallery presented a booth overflowing with eye-catching works by an array of contemporary artists and designers. There, we noticed a large furry seat by Rick Owens and what appeared to be a collection of sculptures—a crew of moss-covered, fairy-like children. Other odd design marvels that caught our attention were large-scale spherical chairs by Cape Town-based gallery Southern Guild; short, smooth, and shapely tables by Charles Trevelyan in the booth of New York-based Carpenters Gallery; and a changing installation—a split-flap display highlighting the 1520s—by California-based galleryALL.
Overall booths that were inspiring were from some of our favorite brands—including Fendi, Swarovski, Louis Vuitton, Perrier-Jouët, and Gemfields. Fendi’s dream-like design featured a serene presentation entitled “Roman Molds” by the Lovis Caputo and Sarah Kueng—the duo behind Zurich-based design studio Kueng Caputo. The pieces on view were created to decorate the exterior colonnade of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the brand’s headquarters in Rome.
Swarovski’s dazzling booth drew us in with sparkle and pizazz, first with a wave-like installation of Tord Boontje’s “Light Drops,” and a mural—based on hand-painted artworks—that doubles as bespoke wallpaper by Nick and Rachel Cope, co-founders of Calico Wallpaper.
Turning the corner, we followed the sea of onlookers to the Louis Vuitton booth—gorgeously clad in the brand’s latest designs. There, we caught sight of the brand’s long-time collaborator, Marcel Wanders, and took in sight of “Swell Wave”—Louis Vuitton’s latest Objets Nomades collection by San Francisco-based artist Andrew Kudless.
If you’ve ever wondered what an art-infused champagne cave looks like, stopping by Perrier-Jouët’s showcase is a must. For the brand’s eight annual collaboration with the fair, it tapped Italian designer Andrea Mancuso of Analogia Project to collaborate on an immersive booth. Leading visitors to bubbly bottles were sleek, colorful ceramic-esque spheres affixed to the walls in calming waves. Gemfields’ booth was a special one, as it was curated by Whitewall, highlighting the art of responsibly sourced gemstones. On view are Mozambican rubies and Zambian emeralds, as well as hanging sculptures, a tabletop piece, and two paintings on wood panels by artist Sebastian Leon.
And last but not least, we drifted into Friedman Benda’s booth to get lost in a solo show by Daniel Arsham, which shined a light on his creative practice. The artist took to Instagram to let visitors know that he’s always made furniture for his home and studio—including chairs and tables made of recycled foam—but it wasn’t until Marc at Friedman Benda asked him to showcase it that he showed this side of his practice. As a result, the exhibition is a combination of his home office and his New York studio in Long Island City, based on those early works but now reimagined in an opaque resin. The intricate and playful carpet was handwoven in Nepal, the upholstered furniture uses the same Arsham Studio dyed canvas as his Porsche 992 interior artwork, and it’s all designed to be used. So stop by, don’t be shy, and immerse yourself in Arsham’s studio.