Design Miami/ Questionnaire

On the occasion of Design Miami/—the premier design fair held in Miami Beach each December and Basel each June—we turned to a group of insiders to give us their insights on design, top Miami locales, and must-sees at this year’s fair. Our participants include: Alexandra Cunningham, Director of Exhibitions at Design Miami/ who is a Miami native; Claire Warner and Sam Vinz, the directors of Chicago’s Volume Gallery, a platform for promoting emerging designers and innovative design; Tali Jaffe, Executive Editor at Whitehaus and web editor of Cultured Magazine, who splits her time between Miami and New York; Rafael de Cárdenas, an architect and designer who we recently caught up with in his studio; and Felix Burrichter, editor and creative director of PIN–UP, the art and design magazine he founded in 2006.

Artsy: What are you most looking forward to seeing at Design Miami/?

Alexandra Cunningham: TENT PILE, our 2013 Pavilion Commission by formlessfinder.

Claire and Sam: By far the tent designed by formlessfinder. We are blown away with the renderings and looking forwarding to experiencing the realization. Also, we are looking forward to seeing what Heritage is bringing for Soviet Art Deco.

Tali Jaffe: Charlotte Perriand’s “La Maison au bord de l’eau” at the Raleigh.

Rafael de Cárdenas: The Demisch Danant booth and the formlessfinder canopy.

Felix Burrichter: There are always plenty of great surprises during Design Miami/ so it’s hard to say beforehand. But this year I’m particularly looking forward to the the exhibition of Maria Pergay’s 1970s furniture at Demisch Danant, and the installation Pergay is doing for FENDI at the fair. For the new issue of PIN–UP we did a big feature interview with the now 83-year-old grande dame of French design, and not only is she a fascinating woman with an interesting life story to boot, but also a design force to be reckoned with—even after 50 years in business. Another highlight will be Jonathan Muecke’s solo effort for Volume Gallery.  

Artsy: What’s your favorite building in Miami?

AC: The Miami Marine Stadium on Key Biscayne—a Modernist icon in desperate need of preservation. It was designed in the 1960s by a 28-year-old Cuban architect, and has hosted some of the finest moments in Miami’s event history, from water skiing races to Richard Nixon to Queen.

C&S: It is hard not to include all of Collins Avenue, and the restored beauty of the Art Deco buildings.

TJ: Herzog and de Meuron’s PAMM has become an instant favorite for me.  

RDC: The entrance canopy at the Miami Beach Convention Center is a guilty pleasure, as well as the stepped building on the Venetian Causeway (1000 Venetian Way).

FB: The Villa Vizcaya for its early 20th-century “famine for beauty”-style excess; the Bacardi Building and the Marine Stadium for their optimistic 1960s tropical Modernism; the Delano Hotel as a testament to the genius of Philippe Starck (and because it makes everyone feel like J-Lo circa 1999); and that parking garage by Herzog & de Meuron because it successfully anchors an otherwise generic pedestrian area.

Artsy: What’s your secret Miami bar or restaurant?

AC: The Japanese Market on Miami Beach. Best omakase in the city.

C&S: Well if we tell you it would not be a secret! We host a dinner every year for fellow galleries, artists/designers and friends at Tap Tap on the night of the opening of Art Basel. It is a nice low key event in contrast to the fairs. For bars, the first year we were in Miami Mr. Mondoblogo introduced us to “the Deuce” (Club Deuce) and it has been our late night haunt ever since...

TJ: Sylvano’s, which relocated a couple of years ago to Liberty Avenue—one of the best secret streets in Miami Beach. Order the Orecchiette with eggplant and salty ricotta.

RDC: Garcia’s

FB: Club Boi

Artsy: Can you share your favorite design book, periodical, or blog?

AC: Novels are my number one source of inspiration. I don’t have the time to read as much as I’d like, so I go to Bookforum’s Omnivore blog and scour book reviews.

C&S: Field Essays, Issue 1, with Jonathan Muecke and Bas Princen (Sophie Krier), PIN-UP

TJ: Well, I’m certainly partial to Cultured Magazine! As for a design book, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Carlo Mollino’s first book of Polaroids. It’s a super-charged jewel box of a book.

RDC: Eileen Gray (Taschen) and Verner Panton (Vitra Design Museum)

FB: Current favorite design book: The World of Biedermeier (a recent obsession since a visit to Michael Graves’s home, which is featured in the new issue). Current favorite blog(s): Balack Balack Facebook page and Patrick Parrish’s MONDOBLOGO. Current favorite magazine: Apartamento (especially the new issue with Trix & Robert Haussmann’s apartment on the cover). Current favorite Tumblr: Safe House USA.

Artsy: Who is the most under celebrated 20th-century designer and why?

AC: I’m waiting for German 1980s design to receive the recognition it deserves—Pentagon, Wolfgang Laubersheimer and the rest. The work is powerful, political and sculptural. Like the most fascinating movements in design history, the German avant-garde reveals a society’s need to revolt against tradition and explore new means of expression.

C&S: I would say Pentagon, an avant-garde group producing in Germany in the late ’80s; incredibly experimental work that is still radical 30 years later—Demisch Danant has been championing their work for sometime. Robert Lallemant is someone that I keep trying to find out more about.

TJ: Perhaps Robert Mallet-Stevens. While he’s recognized as one of the most influential French architects of his time, it’s hard to come up alongside Le Corbusier and not be under-celebrated in comparison. Demanding your archives be destroyed upon your death doesn’t help, either.

RDC: Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Ricardo Bofil.

FB: Ward Bennett. Every single one of his chairs should be a 20th-century classic, especially those in stainless steel.  

Artsy: What designers are you watching in 2014, and why?

AC: I’m looking forward to a resurgence in experimental work from American architectural studios. I’ve never had such a long list of young architects to follow!

C&S: We might be biased but I think Jonathan Muecke’s work is truly phenomenal and we are excited for its premier presentation on an international platform. We are also having our second solo exhibition with Thaddeus Wolfe this January featuring his extraordinary glass work. I think both Jonathan and Thaddeus will have breakout years in 2014.

TJ: It’s obvious from our cover that the Haas brothers have our attention and with their fearless nature, I expect to see a lot more greatness from them next year.

FB: On the so-called “collectible design” circuit I’m keeping my eyes out for the Haas Brothers from Los Angeles. They’ll be presenting new pieces at R 20th Century this Design Miami, and I think 2014 is going to be a breakthrough year for them. For 2014 I’m also looking forward to new furniture by Aranda\Lasch, which they are planning on unveiling at Design Miami/ Basel in June. And then there’s Konstantin Grcic, an all-time favorite who is going to have a big year with his first survey exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum.

Miami picks: Japanese Market, 1412 79th Street Causeway, Miami Beach, FL; Tap Tap, 819 5th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139; Club Deuce, 222 14th Street, Miami Beach, FL; Sylvano,1925 Liberty Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139; Garcia’s Seafood & Grille, 398 NW North River Dr, Miami, FL 33128; Club Boi, 1060 NE 79th St, Miami, FL 33138.

Image of TENT PILE courtesy of formlessfinder.

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