The Miami milieu appears to have rubbed off on the collectible design to be had at Design Miami/, the pre-eminent U.S. design fair, which opened to the public on Wednesday. From pastel hues (like those that grace the nearby Art Deco architecture) to latex chandeliers to velvet-fur loveseats, some of the best booths at this year’s edition take inspiration from the palette and irreverence of the fair’s host city.
GALLERIES Section, Booth G08
With works by Rogan Gregory, The Haas Brothers, Sergio Rodrigues, Joaquim Tenreiro, David Wiseman, Thaddeus Wolfe, Jose Zanine Caldas, Jeff Zimmerman, Wendell Castle, Finn Juhl, Johnny Swing, Lapo Binazzi, Katie Stout
Installation view of R & Company’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
R & Company’s booth reads like a greatest-hits inventory of designers that pass through the TriBeCa mainstay’s home base. Haas Brothers aficionados will recognize their pastel-hued vases as well as “Hex” stools, which the duo originally developed in 2013. New pieces by the ever-inventive twin pair include a hand-carved walnut dining table, going for $180,000; it echoes the humorous tone, critter-motif legs, and exacting craftsmanship of the “Hex” series. Elsewhere in the booth, new works from Katie Stout’s “Girl Lamp” (2016) series (all of these table lamps are handmade, and all of them are gloriously obscene), were also very popular with collectors.
Collaborations Section, Booth X02
With works by Cristina Celestino
Installation view of FENDI’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
FENDI has held a presence at Design Miami/ since 2008, and this year’s booth from the Italian fashion house features the work of Milan-based architect and designer Cristina Celestino. Dubbed “The Happy Room,” the full-scale interior display features a color and material palette that figures prominently throughout the fair, punctuated by idiosyncratic details that make the booth: For instance, a curvilinear yellow-velvet loveseat finished with a fur base. Elsewhere in the booth, grey marble is contrasted with pink plastic, brass, and wood—all common enough in contemporary luxury interiors—but punctuated with an oversized rivet in the shape of an earring-back. The booth is one of few non-selling presentations at the fair; the design serves instead as the brand’s first travelling VIP room.
Installation view of Salon 94’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
The wittiest booth at this year’s fair is devoted to Italian architect and bon vivant Gaetano Pesce, whose cabinets are among the most charming pieces in the whole of the fair. Done in polyurethane resin and completed from 2006 through 2016, these pieces are more narrative than functional; one wood-and-gold leaf piece is rendered as a horse’s behind.
Galleries Section, Booth G14
With works by Andrea Branzi, Calico Wallpaper, the Campana Brothers, Wendell Castle, Byung Hoon Choi, Paul Cocksedge, gt2P, Misha Kahn, Chris Schanck, Adam Silverman, Faye Toogood, Marcel Wanders
Installation view of Friedman Benda’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
According to gallery partner Jennifer Olshin, this year’s booth is split in two: One side is given over to “organic” pieces, like a pair of blush pink Amazonian fish-skin chairs by the Campana Brothers, while the other side contains expressive, “zany” objects like brand-new pieces from Brooklyn’s Misha Kahn and Detroit-based Chris Schanck. Kahn, a bricoleur whose February solo show at the gallery received near-universal critical acclaim, is perhaps the gallery’s most popular designer at this year’s fair; a day in, all of his works (two lighting fixtures and a wildly pieced-together storage cabinet) had sold.
Galleries Section, Booth G23
With works by Harry Bertoia, David Ebner, Wharton Esherick, Gyokusendo, Estelle Halper, Sam Maloof, George Nakashima, Toshiko Takaezu, Makoto Yabe
Installation view of Modern Gallery’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
This Philadelphia-based gallery’s booth is devoted to studio furniture of the highest caliber, chiefly pieces produced by eminent 20th- and 21st-century woodworkers. An especially impressive Wharton Esherick couch anchors the booth, and items like the 1952 cherry-wood Long Chair by George Nakashima further assert the gallery’s commitment to promoting the handmade work of highly talented artisans and craftspeople. A 1961 Sam Maloof lounge chair carved from California walnut wood is reupholstered in an eggplant-hued textile by Jack Lenor Larsen—gallery owner Robert Aibel acquired some of the legendary mid-century fabric designer’s last stock when Larsen closed his business, and has since been reupholstering period pieces in the material.
Galleries Section, Booth G28
With works by Jonathan Gonzalez, Jonathan Nesci, Lex Pott, Deon Rubi
Installation view of Giovanni Beltran’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
The Miami-based gallery features the fair’s most commanding digital element: a monumental LED screen that spans the width of the booth and displays rotating computer-rendered environments as context for the furniture pieces on view. Standing in front of a rendered snowscape, a slender towel rack-cum-tower designed by Miami designer and architect Jonathan Gonzalez appeared pixelated at the edges, taking on the cartoonish quality of the scenography.
Installation view of Patricia Findlay’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
Titled “NO SEX in Miami,” Patricia Findlay’s booth is transformed into a Freudian analyst’s office by Milan-based design studio Atelier Biagetti (the husband-and-wife design team previously staged the “NO SEX” show in Milan). Gone are the whips and chains, though the fetish theme is omnipresent; instead, the display includes clinical finishes like a pink latex curtain chandelier (going for €27,000).
Galleries Section, Booth G18
With works by Kristin Victoria Barron,Bec Brittain, Huy Bui, Guy C. Corriero, Crosby Studios, Fort Standard, Cody Hoyt, Doug Johnston, Kasper Kjeldgaard, Ian McDonald, Jonathan Nesci, Soft Baroque, Ian Stell, Brian Thoreen, Marcus Tremonto, Julian Watts, Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Chris Wolston
Installation view of Patrick Parrish Gallery’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
At Patrick Parrish’s eclectic booth, the emphasis is on experimentation with materials. A slew of completely new pieces—all but a couple pieces were produced specifically for this year’s fair in Miami—testify to inventive applications of everything from terracotta to soapstone. Among the most arresting items is Chris Wolston’s clay Magdalena Plant Chair (2016), complete with potted cacti peeking out from its back. More minimalist in impulse but no less impressive, Huy Bui’s two sidetables—in which a brass frame holds sculptural wood burl that functions as the table-top—sold for $4,800 early into the fair’s five-day run.
Galleries Section, Booth G27
With works by Dimitri Bähler, Hilda Hellström, Mimi Jung, Markéta Kratochvílová & Tadeáš Podracký, Ika Künzel, Azuma Makoto, New Tendency, Jirí Pelcl, PlueerSmitt, Niek Pulles, Studio Job
Installation view of Chamber’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
In Miami, the New York City design emporium is hewing to the theme of collage and assemblage, the focus of its third Chamber Collection presentation, which was curated at its home base by Matylda Krzykowski. If the theme suggests a grab bag, it’s for the better, as the booth’s contrasting contents are highly varied. In a nod to the season’s defining hue, the booth includes a bubblegum-pink leather daybed by Berlin-based studio New Tendency. Nearby, the curvilinear Botanical Sofa and Table (2012) by Azuma Makoto are rendered in neon-green AstroTurf.
Galleries Section, Booth G01
With works by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Jean Royère
Installation view of Galerie Patrick Seguin’s booth at Design Miami/, 2016. Photo by Alain Almiñana for Artsy.
The Paris and London-based vintage design dealer’s booth is arrayed into two “atmospheres,” as Seguin himself puts it; one is devoted primarily to Jean Prouvé and the other is exclusively featuring pieces by Jean Royère. Here, an angled presidential desk designed by Prouvé is the unquestionable highlight for its rarity, elegance, and provenance. The desk is more commonly found in a black-and-grey color scheme, but this one—which previously belonged to André Bloc, founder and erstwhile editor of influential French magazine L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui—is rendered in bottle green.
Seguin also deserves credit for contextualizing his wares: Aluminum doors by Prouvé and a table-and-chair set from Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh collection are displayed alongside the original technical drawings that show the buildings for which these furnishings were designed. Ultimately, Seguin’s display is the most compelling of the fair booths devoted to mid-century design, precisely because his pieces are part of immersive installations that emphasize the eminently functional quality of modernist furniture. More than a half-century after they were first designed, all the items in his expansive display are still meant to be used.