The Artsy Guide to Design Miami/ Basel 2014

Design Miami/ is the self-proclaimed “Global Forum for Design”—and rightly so. This year the Miami-born fair returns to its European home in Basel, with a selection of 51 top design galleries, ranging from Seoul to Moscow to New York. Exhibitors present prime specimen of collectible design from contemporary, modern, and historic eras. In addition to dynamic booth presentations, the fair assembles curated exhibitions, site-specific commissions, daily talks, a new “Design at Large” section, and more.

1. When? Where? How?

Design Miami/ Basel takes place in Hall 1 Sud of Messe Basel (Messeplatz 10, 4055 Basel, Switzerland). The fair is open to the public June 17th–22nd, opening at 11am each day. You can purchase tickets in person at the fair.

2. Why visit?

A global forum for design, Design Miami/ Basel is a premier destination for the world’s most influential collectors, gallerists, designers, curators, and critics. It occurs twice each year alongside Art Basel fairs in Basel and Miami Beach, drawing the participation of top art and design galleries, who present museum-quality exhibitions of design, architecture, art, and fashion, equally appealing for collectors and enthusiasts. While most galleries exhibit works from the 20th and 21st centuries—including furniture, lighting, and jewelry—select galleries are included to present outstanding 18th and 19th-century antiques.

3. On/Site

Design On/Site features small-scale exhibitions of new work by individual designers or studios, displayed by design galleries, dealers, and independent curators.

Elisabetta Cipriani will present a collaborative project by Rebecca Horn and Spanish goldsmith Luisa del Valle. The pieces include elaborate hand-made jewelry that take inspiration from Horn’s sculptures, most notably featuring the spiral, a symbol that appears throughout her work. 

Gosserez will present work by Valentin Loellmann, with a collection of decorative furniture including “Spring-Summer” Console (2013). Marie-Bérangère Gosserez, the director and founder of the gallery, represents multiple international designers including Elise Gabriel, Piergil Fourquié, and Grégoire de Lafforest. 

Galerie MiniMasterpiece will present Franco-Argentine artist and designer Pablo Reinoso. His work includes a series of jewels in sterling silver and 18kt gold. He views his sculptures as extensions of the body.

Mitterrand+Cramer will present design-duo Studio Job, co-edited by StonetouCH. “Detour” is a series that includes five works: a bookshelf, two lamps, a coffee table, and a mirror. The pieces are inspired by roadwork iconography and feature recognizable objects such as traffic cones, road reflectors, and a shovel.  

4. Talks

The Talks program takes place June 17th through 19th at 2:30pm and 5:30pm, and explores the design world’s most prevalent topics in design. These talks bring together designers, architects, artists, and critics to discuss the market, criticism, and creative output. Highlights at this year’s fair include:

“Prologue”: Fredrikson Stallard for Swarovski. June 17, 2:30pm. 

“Fiber and Textile Design”: Sheila Hicks in conversation with Sjarel Ex. June 17, 5:30pm. 

“Fear of Missing Out: Identity and the Politics of Information”: Space Caviar in conversation with Metahaven. June 18, 2:30pm. 

“The Design Museum of the Future”: Deyan Sudjic in conversation with Mateo Kries. June 18, 5:30pm. 

“New Technologies, Human Experiences, and Ethics: Discussing Design’s Future”: Jamie Zigelbaum and Yves Béhar in conversation with Matthew Israel. June 19, 2:30pm. 

“Collecting Radical Design: a Spirit for the Unconventional”: Dennis Freedman in conversation with Rodman Primack. June 19, 5:30pm. 

5. 2014 Design Commission

As part of the biannual Design Commissions, Design Miami/ picks an early-career designer or architect to create an installation for the fair entrance. For this edition of the fair, Jamie Zigelbaum presents Triangular Series, an installation made from glowing tetrahedral lights suspended from the ceiling of the cavernous entrance hall. Artsy’s own Matthew Israel spoke with Zigelbaum in anticipation of the fair. Read his interview, here.

6. Design at Large Program

A special new curated section to debut at this year’s Design Miami/ Basel is Design at Large, an opportunity to showcase large-scale works and installations that are significant pieces of contemporary or historic design. Dennis Freedman will be the inaugural curator of the section, and contributes his own background and expertise as a collector and the Creative Director at Barneys New York. The presentation, which is located around the Messe Basel’s Herzog & de Meuron oculus, brings together six works by six designers and artists including Sheila Hicks, Eske Rex, Dominic Harris, Anton Alvarez, Chris Kabel, and Jean Benjamin Maneval.

7. Collaborations 

Design Miami/ Basel joins forces with institutions and partners to produce newly commissioned works of design at each fair. This year’s collaborations include Prologue by Fredrikson Stallard for Swarovski and Architectural Installation TT Pavillion by Konstantin Grcic for Audi. 

Prologue is a large-scale circular form with more than 8,000 golden Swarovski crystal droplets within its frame, which form a representation of the sun as it reflects and refracts light. Audi’s installation is inspired by the new Audi TT and uses real objects from the car, such as the rear hatch. The design allows it to be situated in an urban landscape or a natural outdoor environment. 

8. Satellites

Satellites presents a diverse selection of design in satellite exhibitions, including rare works by modernists to limited-edition pieces by contemporary designers. In its fifth appearance at Design Miami/ Basel, “do you read me?!” presents a range of international magazines and reading material covering art, fashion, photography, design, architecture, literature, music, and contemporary culture. 

In Wool We Trust,” produced by ECAL students under the tutorship of Ronan Bouroullec and Camille Blin, showcases Merino wool in unconventional ways. The students take on wool in its various states to create installations with compelling forms. #InWoolWeTrust

9. FOMObile by Space Caviar 

Design Miami/ Basel will have a guest insider journalist in the form of a real-time publishing platform called the FOMObile. It plays on the unshakeable “fear of missing out” (#FOMO). The FOMObile will produce a time-based stream of magazines using electronic interactions generated by the event, transforming the media footprint into a body of content. It is inspired by Bruce Sterling’s statement that “events are the new magazines” and will encompass the physical interactions and electronic material generated by Design Miami/ Basel. The FOMObile, developed by Space Caviar, will be stationed at the ground floor entrance of Design Miami/ Basel. 

10. Themes at Design Miami/ Basel 2014

With a spectrum of contemporary practices and strong historic works, Design Miami/ Basel has several compelling themes that have already started emerging from this year’s program. Many participating galleries have commissioned pieces specifically for this year’s show, which touch on the below themes. 

Ancient Materials: Formafantasma, Rebecca Horn, Brynjar Sigurdarson, and Rowan Mersh are just a sampling of artists who have employed ancient materials and techniques in their work. De Natura Fossilium by Formafantasma meshes rigid contemporary forms with expressive materials. Fossilized snail shells set using Etruscan-influenced lapidary are found in Horn’s jewelry pieces. Read a post about the use of organic materials by Jessica Backus, research manager of Artsy’s The Art Genome Project, here.

Exchange between East and West: Danful Yang, Reinier Bosch, Bouke de Vries, Satyendra Pakhalé, and Takuro Kuwata explore the design commerce between Asia and Europe in their works. Chinese craftsmanship and European techniques combine to create a refined edge to contemporary design. 

Between Sculpture and Design: The innovation that design has gained from sculpture is represented in a number of works at this year’s fair. Yonel Lebovici’s Les Mains Chaude (1979) and Péter Pierre Székely’s Bar (1950) are two such works that have drawn technical functionality from sculpture. 

Extraordinary Provenance: Works by Jean Prouvé, Rene-Jean Caillette, George Nakashima, and Jean Royère, among other artists, reveal inspiring and distinctive stories. Prouvé’s Trapeze table (1954-56) references the notable shape of the table’s paired legs and broad tabletop edges. Several rare prototypes and unique works acquired from Caillette’s estate are also being exhibited for the first time. 

Explore Design Miami/ Basel 2014.

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