2012/ A Year of Nature Reflected in Design

Design Miami/
Dec 6, 2012 3:38PM

Design Miami/ is the yearly nexus of the design world – the meeting place for trends, histories and futures. If we’re to consider Design Miami/ a litmus test for what’s collectively relevant and noteworthy, then this year’s fair will prove that Nature – i.e. the Natural World, Gaia, Mother Earth – has been one of the most captivating subjects for designers, collectors and gallerists in 2012.

The world’s climate and ecological systems are being increasingly recognized as fertile grounds for thought and practice in art and design. Of course, the forms and processes found in the natural world have a long history of representation and incorporation in design – but recent focus on the beauty of the natural world, environments and new technological developments have brought the worlds of design and nature together even closer. As one walks through the Design Miami/2012 fair, this fact becomes clear.The New York-based Jason Jacques Inc. gallery holds some of the world’s finest European ceramics, earthen- and glassware. Their booth at Design Miami/2012 is replete with 19th century pottery, as well as contemporary works that exhibit the history of using natural forms in design. Art Nouveau and Japoniste masterworks by artists such as Jean Carries and Ernest Chaplet sit next to works by artists working today, including Mason Gareth – presenting a dialogue on the natural world through various uses of human and animal forms and organic protrusions.

David Wiseman total environment – on view at the R20th Century booth – presents the subtlety of biotic and geologic forms with expert, hand-made craftsmanship. A concave, polished-bronze vase signifies mountainous landscapes, while delicate kitchenware that incorporates leaf- and vine-shapes suggests a rekindling with the original sources of food. Paris-based Galerie BSL presents “Rough Sea” by Taher Chemirik – a brass screen rippling like a wave – as well as a five-meter long chandelier that trails a golden flower train by the designer.

Also, Noë Duchaufour-Lawrence will be showing his “Naturoscopie” collection, which utilizes digital programming to portray filtered sunlight raining through tree foliage. More examples abound throughout Design Miami/2012: a pristine butterfly light installation by Dominic Wilcox at Priveekollektie, cast-bronze candelabras by Michele Oka Doner that appear as preserved, scorched tree trunks and carpets adorned with flora by Hechizoo at the Cristina Grajales booth.

The aesthetics of nature – while having remained fairly consistent throughout history – are in constant flux, and have always inspired the outcomes of creative production. As part of our VIP program, we offer a tour that will trace the Art Nouveau legacy in contemporary design – hosted by Perrier-Jouët – and the influence of the natural world on the movement. Design Miami/2012 shows the variety of creative executions on the theme of Nature, from across the world and throughout the modern era, and highlight how the world’s top designers are addressing the subject. 

Rob Goyanes
Design Miami/