Snapshot of Design Miami/ 2013 highlights: Emerging designers

Andrea Lipps
Dec 10, 2013 6:28PM

Design Miami/ is always a stunning collection of modern and contemporary design under one roof, but can be a bit overwhelming without knowing where to look. I led tours of the fair (the Museum’s second tour collaboration with DM/) to provide insight into this year’s highlights, connecting the works on view and illuminating themes.

Honestly, there was a lot of ground to cover this year – the fair featured special pieces by Charlotte Perriand (who, with La Maison au bord de l’eau satellite, was quite ubiquitous this year), a gorgeously chic display of Maria Pergay and Sheila Hicks in the Demisch Denant booth, rare pieces of Soviet decorative arts, and even full-scale architecture (one of Jean Prouvé’s demountable houses). Tucked amongst these heavy hitters was the work of young designers, who created some of the fair’s highlights. There were a number of stellar works on display, exemplifying the range and dynamism of emerging design talent.

ClockClock, by Stockholm-based Humans Since 1982 (est. 2008), was a show-stopper. Mesmerizing and exuberant, Clock Clock is a choreographed installation of 24 analog clocks whose hands rotate every 60 seconds to graphically create a digital display of the time. The piece illustrated an intriguing subtheme of many contemporary works at the fair: time (seen in Maarten Baas’s, rAndom International’s, and Nacho Carbonell’s pieces, and even the theme of the Inventory 04 show in Miami’s Design District).

Minnesota-based Jonathan Muecke (b. 1983) challenges notions of traditional design typologies and function – lighting, seating, tables – with his rigorously designed collection for Volume Gallery (Chicago). The pieces are expansive, exploring formalism unlike any other emerging designer today. Take note: Jonathan Muecke is sure to be a voice for decades to come.

The anthropomorphic forms by both LA-based the Haas Brothers (b. 1984) and Spaniard Nacho Carbonell (b. 1980) suggest an affinity for a Burtonesque version of nature. The Haas Brothers employ luxurious finishes (here, brass tiles) for an otherworldly preciousness, while the always intriguing and fun Nacho Carbonell finishes his in unexpected natural materials (here, agate), to fantastical effect.

With such range, inquisitiveness, rigor, and curiosity, emerging designers represented at the fair point to exciting times ahead.

[Re-posted from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum blog.]

Andrea Lipps