What’s Trending at Design Miami/: From Mid-Century Modern to Collectible Ceramics

With the design world awaiting the opening of Design Miami/, Artsy asked Daniella Ohad, a design historian specializing in 20th-century and contemporary design, to offer her takeaways around the most popular pieces (based on artwork saves) during our fair preview.

Design Miami/ is one of the most ambitious design fairs, held annually in Miami. It attracts influential collectors, gallerists, designers, curators, and critics from across the globe. First opened 10 years ago alongside Art Basel, Design Miami/ has become the premier venue for cultivating the design market, bringing together those seeking to learn about and acquire modern and contemporary design. In the fair preview published last week on Artsy, the most-saved works, presented below, indicate a continuing interest in French mid-century design, and an increasing focus on collectible contemporary design.

1. Takuro Kuwata, Bowl, 2014, at Pierre Marie Giraud, Brussels

What makes ceramics exciting and fresh today is their new approach to traditional materials, which tend to push boundaries and old conventions while expanding the possibilities of the medium. This is exactly what Japanese potter Takuro Kuwata is known for, with his gem-studded vessels in vibrant, often whimsical colors, that tread a line between the spontaneous and the preconceived. I was first introduced to his work last year in a solo show at Salon 94 Bowery, which showcased his dazzling, often shocking forms. Kuwata’s porcelain vessel manifests an intense color combination of vivid blue with yellow, which has become his signature approach. The yellow drops that adorn the vessel’s exterior look as if he applied precious beads to the surface of the soft glaze. 

2. Martino Gamper, Paraventissimo 01 e 02 pair of screens, 2014, at Nilufar Gallery, Milan

A strong connection to the history of design and to the emotional, social, and psychological traits of objects are qualities that have become synonymous with the work of Italian-born, London-based designer Martino Gamper. His show at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery last May—where he presented pieces of furniture by Ponti and other historical greats, along with contemporary designs by his peers and new work of his own—came to cement his reputation as a design mind rethinking design history in a critical yet chic manner. Gamper’s fascinating practice has come to be defined not by a particular style, but by an attitude that maintains theoretical support of the objects. In Paraventissimo 01 e 02, a pair of bold, geometrical screens made from plywood, lino, and heat-treated oak maple, Gamper revisits the glorious 1920s, when design took inspiration from cubism and the screen came to play a central role in interior decor. 

3. Janne Kyttanen, Rollercoaster Bowl, 2014, at Galerie VIVID

Whereas Gamper’s work represents a strong connection to the past, Finnish designer Janne Kyttanen is interested in the future, specifically in digital technology and 3D printing. Since founding Freedom of Creation in 2000, an agency specializing in design for 3D printing, Kyttanen has created a portfolio of objects that represent pioneering experimentation with new technology for such companies as Hyundai, Asics, Nivea, NIKE, and L’Oreal. While he belongs to the first generation of designers who utilize digital technology and the most advanced scientific technologies to intersect design with science, Kyttanen has moved in another direction when creating his collectible pieces. Seeking to expand possibilities, he creates objects that join the most innovative, cutting edge software with traditional materials and handcraftsmanship. The juxtaposition of a digitally manipulated form in polished bronze makes his Rollercoaster Bowl an important object of the moment.

4. Lindsey Adelman, Cherry Bomb collection, 2014, at Nilufar Gallery

In a recent memorable visit to Manhattan’s Lower East Side-based studio of Lindsey Adelman, I was introduced to her world of sculptural lights and the craftsmanship behind them. Glass, porcelain, ropes, and metal come together when Adelman creates her poetic objects. Two major sources of inspiration that dominate her work are nature and atomic imagery. Her distinctive chandeliers and other lights have become favorites among many interior decorators. At Design Miami/, Nilufar Gallery will present Adelman’s Cherry Bomb collection, which features lights in the forms of refined, almost fragile cherry blossoms, of the type usually associated with the art of Japan. 

5. Astrid Krogh, Meadow, 2013, at Galerie Maria Wettergren

Copenhagen-based artist Astrid Krogh, who creates tapestries out of fibers optics, puts textiles in the spotlight through the use of seemingly contradictory materials. Krogh, who studied textiles at the Danish Design School (now the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), seeks to extend the possibilities and the traditional functions of textiles, creating miraculous sculptures that merge lights, colors, andfibers. Meadow, shown at Design Miami/ by the arisian Galerie Maria Wettergren, is a cosmic neon sculpture with nuanced layers of meanings.

6. Le Corbusier & Charlotte Perriand, Room divider wardrobe, 1956-1959, at Galerie Patrick Seguin

The lifelong collaboration between Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand resulted in a number of furniture pieces that Perriand designed for the architect’s various commissions. Perriand began her glorious career in the 1920s at Corbusier’s prestigious Parisian atelier, and even after leaving a decade later, the two continued collaborating until the architect’s death in 1965. From Le Corbusier, Perriand learned the imagery of the machine, the magic of simplicity, and the power of using humble materials to create rich designs. This room-divider wardrobe, which Perriand designed in the 1950s for La Maison du Brésil, at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, is made of oak, molded plastic, and metal, representing a commitment to a new, modern way of living.  

7. Adam Silverman, ASMI 24, 2014, at Edward Cella Art and Architecture

Adam Silverman, the Los Angeles architect-turned-potter, who recently created pots for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum, is known for an experimental approach to pottery that places him at the forefront of contemporary ceramics. Silverman, who began making pottery as a teenage hobby, developed a passion for ceramics that he turned into a career in 2002. Today, Silverman is a partner at Heath Ceramics, the renowned studio founded six decades ago in Los Angeles. His “ASMI” series comprises stoneware vessels that bear a sense of softness, achieved through irregular forms and abstract glazing in brilliant colors of yellow, red, and blue.

8. Serge Mouille, Applique “Coquille”, ca. 1958, at Galerie Downtown - François Laffanour

The wealth of forms created by French designer Serge Mouille is astonishing. Enrolling at Paris’s School of Applied Arts’ silver workshop at the age of 13, Mouille utilized his training in metallurgy and silversmithing throughout his career to create sculptural lights in organic, feminine, and atomic forms. From the beginning of his career, Mouille captured the imagination of individuals seeking to live in a modern way. His work has come to attract art and design collectors worldwide. Mouille’s Applique “Coquille” is a unique piece that represents his signature simplicity of form. 

9. Pierre Guariche, Rocking armchair G1, 1953, at Galerie Pascal Cuisinier

French designer and architect Pierre Guariche, a member of the Union des Artistes Modernes, made his name in the mid-century years as a progressive industrial designer, working for such companies as Airborne, Meubles TV, and Huchers-Minvielle, and creating fresh designs that were stylish, young, and inexpensive. His interest in new materials like plastic and plywood aided him in designing affordable furniture. As a true modernist, Guariche’s approach demonstrated a commitment to form, functionality, and mass-production. While his multi-directional lamps, designed for Disderot, have had a strong presence in the marketplace for years, his furniture is relatively new to the market. For the rocking armchair he designed for Airborne in 1965, Guariche received the René Gabriel prize.

10. Jean Prouvé, “Antony” bookcase, 1955, at Galerie Patrick Seguin

The relationship between Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, considered one of the more successful collaborations in the history of modern design, brought the creation of the “Antony” bookcase. In the 1950s, the two created furniture in wood and metal (utilizing some of Prouve’s developments in folding sheet metal) that was innovative, unpretentious, and architectural. While seeking out solutions for modern living, Perriand advocated for built-in furniture and bookcases, which became the touchstone for this type of lifestyle they proposed during the years following the Second World War. 

Daniella Ohad

Explore Design Miami/ 2014 on Artsy.

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