Design 101 at Design Miami/

In honor of Design Miami/, we’re highlighting modern and contemporary design trends from four regions that will be highly represented at the fair. We offer a focus on the established design traditions of Italy, Scandinavia, the U.S., and France, influential designers in each region, and representative highlights from the fair.

Italian Design

In the 1960s and ’70s Italian designers set the international standard for luxury goods. Between fashion, interiors, industry, and architecture, Italy consistently produced quality designs with fine craftsmanship and elegant innovation. Fashion houses and specialized production factories sprouted up across the country and the phrase “Made in Italy” became a form of currency. At Design Miami/, historic and contemporary designs exemplify the national tendency towards pushing boundaries and sacrificing tradition—and even comfort and utility at times—for beauty and ingenuity.

Italian Designers to Know: Carlo Bugatti, Gino Sarfatti, Fausto Melotti, Franco Albini, Ico Parisi, and Ettore Sottsass.

Italian Design Booths at Design Miami/: Casati Gallery, Sebastian + Barquet, Antonella Villanova, and Galleria Rossana Orlandi.

Highlights at the fair:

Franco Albini, Fiorenza PL44 armchair, 1967 at Casati Gallery

UUfie, ‘Peacock’ Chair, 2013 at Galleria Rossana Orlandi

Ettore Sottsass, Murmansk fruit Cup, 1982 at Fine Art Silver

Scandinavian Design

Although the many countries of Scandinavia are diverse, their shared cultural, geographical, and historical characteristics have contributed to common design aesthetic, characterized by Minimalism, clean lines, and functionality. The popularization of Scandinavian design originated in the 1950s due to the exhibition “Scandinavian way of living”, which traveled to the U.S. and Canada, focusing on Nordic designers and the trends that emerged as a result of blending traditional Scandinavian imagery with Modernism that had swept across the U.S. and Europe. The region’s reputation for high-quality design spans fashion, furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork, and lighting.

Scandinavian Designers to Know: Finn Juhl, Stig Lindberg, Michael Geertsen, and Mathias Bengsston.

Scandinavian Design Booths at Design Miami/: Hostler Burrows and Galerie Maria Wettergren.

Highlights at the fair:

Finn Juhl, Cabinet, circa. 1950, at Hostler Burrows

Matthias Bengtsson, Cellular Chair, 2011, at Galerie Maria Wettergren

Michael Geertsen, Red Standing Object, 2013, at Jason Jacques Inc.

American Design

Deeply intertwined with the young nation’s history, American design is heavily influenced by its origins in and continued connections with Europe. Historically, trends have often focused on functionality, responding to industrial innovations and supply and demand. Often hearkening back to folk traditions—Shaker chairs, hook rugs, patchwork quilts—or aristocratic desires—Duncan Phyfe’s fine furniture, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s stained glass—modern and contemporary design in the U.S. is not easily defined under a single category.

American Designers to Know: Historic designers includeArt Smith, Margaret DePatta, Sheila Hicks, Walter Lamb, and George Nakashima. Contemporary designers include Jonathan Nesci, Jonathan Muecke, The Haas Brothers, Jeff Zimmerman, and David Wiseman.

American Design Booths at Design Miami/: Mark McDonald, Moderne Gallery, Volume Gallery, and R 20th Century.

Highlights at the fair:

George Nakashima, Weatherbee End Table, 1968 at Moderne Gallery

Jonathan Muecke, Stablilizer, 2013, at Volume Gallery

Jeff Zimmerman, Crinkled sculptural vessel, 2013, at R 20th Century

French Design

Between Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Post-War French Design, France’s design aesthetics are rooted in history and traditions of innovation. Art Nouveau is characterized by colorful, elaborate ornamentation including sinuous lines and exotic flora and foliage, evocative of traditional Japanese art and Rococo. Art Deco emerged between the World Wars, and is most directly rooted in the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. The broadly defined style is characterized by intricate processes like inlay, lacquer, dinanderie, and enamel, and its imagery draws from from East Asia, parts of Africa, and Egypt, as well as art movements including Cubism, Fauvism, and Constructivism. Socially conscious Postwar designs emerged following World War II due to the need for affordable housing and furniture. Plastic and other synthetic materials replaced wood in a boom of productivity inspired by industrial advancements like jet travel.

French Designers to Know: Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Jean Royère, Georges Jouve, Pierre Jeanneret, Pierre Paulin, Alexandre Noll, and Maria Pergay.

French Design Booths at Design Miami/: Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jousse Entreprise, Galerie Downtown, and Galerie Jacques Lacoste.

Highlights at the fair:

Jean Prouvé, Maison 8x8, 1948, at Galerie Patrick Seguin

Maria Pergay, Oursin / Sea urchin (Baron Gourgaud), 1972 at Demisch Danant

Jean Royère, set of “baltique” chairs with “ondulation” table, circa 1950, at Galerie Jacques Lacoste.

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