9 Designers to Discover at Design Miami/ 2014
This year, Design Miami/ celebrates its tenth anniversary as one of the world’s leading design fairs. In the last decade, the fair has seen a growing number of new commissions, making Design Miami/ an increasingly important event to discover emerging designers (like the fair’s annual emerging architect-designed entryway, which featured Snarkitecture’s floating canopy in 2012 and formlessfinder’s 500-ton pyramid of sand in 2013). This year’s roster is studded with talented designers representing the astonishing range of work being produced today—and here are nine to look out for.
After a solo exhibition at last year’s edition of Design Miami/, Jonathan Muecke returns with deceptively simple designs, objects that simultaneously charm and confound. A monolith of a cabinet is as attractive as it is obscure, drawing you in with its primary blue finish while concealing its means of access. Luckily for fair-goers, Muecke was also commissioned to design the entrance pavilion (read an interview with Muecke here.)
Chinese architect-turned-designer Naihan Li produces concept-driven furniture designs based on architectural interpretations of cultural observations. With her “I AM A MONUMENT” series, she lets collectors take home the world’s most iconic buildings by shrinking them to one hundredth of their size and making them functional: Li turns the Pentagon into a bed and Beijing’s colossal CCTV Headquarters into a massive wardrobe.
What began as a landscape architecture studio has expanded into a multidisciplinary practice specializing in designs that are both high-concept and good fun. For their “Uncertain Surface” series, a collection of furniture objects made from steel mesh, Mike Brady and Matt Olson, the duo behind RO/LU, poke fun at designers’ devotion to the grid. The series incorporates a mash-up of references—from “the life of things,” a little-known philosophical concept explored by the Mono-ha art movement, to the Postmodern designs of Ettore Sottsass and Superstudio.
When turning his attention to furnishings, Italian architect Vincenzo De Cotiis brings the same keen interest in the tactile qualities of surfaces and the presence of the hand that guides his architectural projects. Light fixtures combine polished brass hardware with hand-blown glass, shaped into irregular forms and finished with an ombré, scorched appearance that hints at the process of their production.
Accomplished potter Adam Silverman’s practice could be defined by perpetual motion and strong gravity. The prolific artist draws in various influences and inspirations—from béton brut architecture to the urban landscape—and experiments with a range of techniques to create ceramics that are deft and gorgeous experiments in color, texture, and form.
Jay Sae Jung Oh’s tongue-in-cheek solution for overconsumption is transforming refuse into unique furniture. To create the pieces in her “Savage” series, the Korean designer wraps ropes of natural jute and licorice-black leather cord around an assortment of discarded plastic objects. Familiar shapes—children’s toys, a frying pan, a lawn chair—can be distinguished in the agglomeration but, covered in leather, it all takes a beautiful form.
Korean-born designer Kang Myung Sun employs materials and techniques traditional to her heritage in a distinctly contemporary fashion, producing furniture whose softly curving forms, glossy lacquered surfaces, and luminous mother-of-pearl veneer lends it an aspect that is at once marine and futuristic.
With his solo exhibition at Gallery Diet, Emmett Moore has the distinction of being the fair’s first local designer to be featured by a Miami gallery. The designer-sculptor is best known for projects that cleverly undermine the distinctions between form and function, art and design, and refuse to stay within the confines of a single discipline.
Richard Woods and Sebastian Wrong are best known for their collaboration on “WrongWoods,” a collection of comic-book furniture come to life, whose surfaces of amplified wood grain in cartoon hues extend familiar tropes of representation and playfully challenge notions of good taste.