Your 10-Point Guide to Design Miami/

Between Benjamin Rollins Caldwell’s computer-based furniture, a full-scale Jean Prouvé house, Maria Pergay’s wild collaboration with FENDI, and formlessfinder’s gravity-defying commission, Design Miami/ will not leave a single design enthusiast disappointed. With 37 galleries from nine countries, dynamic fair booths to exciting collaborative installations and programming, this premier design fair cannot be missed.

1. When? Where? How?

Design Miami/ takes place Dec. 4th-8th at Meridian Avenue & 19th Street, in an exhibition venue adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center, a short walk from Art Basel in Miami Beach. Tickets can be purchased at the entry to the fair. Visitors planning to see Design Miami/ and Art Basel in Miami Beach can save by purchasing a combined ticket.

2. Why visit?

A global forum for design, Design Miami/ is the 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-century including furniture, lighting, and jewelry, select galleries are included to present outstanding 18th and 19th-century antiques.

3. On/Site

In addition to the main galleries section of the fair, the On/Site section offers small-scale yet high-quality exhibitions to highlight individual designers’ new works. Presented by galleries, dealers, and/or independent curators, these On/Site booths foster and showcase innovation in contemporary design. This year’s participants are:  

ArtFactum Gallery presenting Marc Baroud & Marc Dibeh

Caroline Van Hoek presenting Gijs Bakker

Elisabetta Cipriani presenting Carlos Cruz-Diez

Industry Gallery presenting Benjamin Rollins Caldwell

Volume Gallery presenting Jonathan Muecke

Wonderglass presenting Nao Tamura

4. Key 20th-Century Design

Several galleries at this year’s fair offer seminal designs from the 20th century. Highlights include Galerie Patrick Seguin’s full-scale house by Jean Prouvé from 1944, Galerie Downtown’s collection of works by Charlotte Perriand, inspired by her designs for the Borot family’s house in Montmartre, and Didier Ltd’s homage to the landmark “Jewelry as Sculpture as Jewelry” exhibition from 1973 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Boston.

5. Women in Contemporary Design

Some of this year’s top contemporary galleries offer a strong representation of works by female designers. While Demisch Danant focuses on metal designs by Maria Pergay (also the designer behind the FENDI collaboration, see below), Carpenters Workshop Gallery shows new lighting works by Johanna Grawunder, Galerie kreo offers new works by Hella Jongerius, and R 20th Century Gallery highlights the latest from German toy-maker Renate Müller.

6. Talks

This year’s Design Talks program is a series of conversations between esteemed members of the design community. Each talk will address current trends and issues in design, from the mouths of highly influential architects, editors, designers, executives, curators, and critics. Some highlights from this year’s program include:

American Modernism: Richard Meier in conversation with Paul Goldberger, Dec. 4, 6-7pm.

Democratizing Design: Martha Stewart in conversation with Stefano Tonchi, Dec. 6, 6-7pm.

Designers on Site: Formlessfinder in Conversation with Zoë Ryan (Curator of Architecture and Design, The Art Institute of Chicago) Dec. 5, 3-4pm.

7. Design Commissions Program

As part of the biannual Design Commissions, Design Miami/ picks an early-career architect to create a design for the fair entrance. This year, formlessfinder’s Tent Pile pavilion will welcome guests into the fair. For their commission, the architects created an aluminum roof structure, which balances precariously atop a conical mound of loose sand. The structure will include benches and offer cool air and shade for fair-goers.

8. Collaborations

For its annual Collaborations program, Design Miami/ partners with institutions and sponsors to commission new design from top designers. This year FENDI collaborates with Maria Pergay to present an environment that harmonizes the designer’s metal designs with fur and leather, two iconic FENDI materials. Meanwhile, Perrier-Jouët presents Phare nº. 1–9 by Simon Heijdens, an experiential installation that offers a contemporary take on Art Nouveau, and Swarovski Crystal Palace premieres Mangue Groove, an architectural installation by Guilherme Torres, inspired by Brazilian mangrove forests.

9. Satellites

For its Satellites program, Design Miami/ invites designers, businesses, and institutions to create highly curated, educational exhibitions—this year with strong curatorial and educational perspectives. As part of this program, ARTBOOK teams up with The Shop at Cooper-Hewitt to offer the newest and best books on 20th-century and contemporary design alongside a delightful selection of design objects by established and emerging designers. Another Satellite exhibition is a tribute to Charlotte Perriand, “La Maison au bord de l’eau.”  Organized by Louis Vuitton, it is an exhibition of a newly created, life-size prototype of the pioneering designer’s plans for a prefabricated vacation home that has never before been realized. “Four (4): New Visions for Living in Miami” is another exhibition, based on a competition between leading architecture firms to design innovative mid-rise residences in Coconut Grove; it’s curated by Terence Riley.

10. Tribute to Miami

A number of installations and exhibitions in and around this year’s fair pay tribute to Miami’s unique mid-century modern style, idyllic tropical landscape ,and quintessentially “Miami” architectural designs. Some highlights include Galerie BSL’s “Here Comes the Sun!” booth at the fair, Walter Lamb’s outdoor furniture at Mark McDonald Gallery, and Hugo França’s designs at Fairchild Botanical Gardens.

Explore Design Miami/ on Artsy.