It’s that time again! The week(ish) in December when the who’s who of the design world decend on Miami and take over the place. Yes, that’s right – it’s Design Miami/ 2015.
Back for it’s 11th edition, the international design fair runs from December 2-6 and will this year feature first-time galleries from São Paulo, Rome, London, New York, Brussels, and Beijing. As well as 35 other world-class exhibitors, one of the main highlights of the fair is sure to be the annual entryway pavilion as designed by a team of students from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Called UNBUILT, the pavilion installation will feature a canopy of 200 tall metal structures from which pink foam architectural models will sprout.
I’ve rounded up a few of my favourites from the fair, so read on to discover just a little bit of Design Miami/ 2015:
Chinese designer Zhoujie Zhang studied in London, but lives and works in Shanghai. Zhang founded his own studio in 2010, and it is from that studio that he produces his unusual metal-works; a craft which he honed by spending 18 months learning and mastering for himself the arts of welding, cutting, polishing, and manufacturing. A mere but brilliant 28 years old, Zhoujie Zhang has shown designs at more than 30 exhibitions, and in the last three years alone has earned himself several prestigious awards.
This stool is a part of Zhang’s Brass Collection: a series developed with the designer’s own digitalised fabrication system, called Endless Forms. The system generates an ever-changing collection of objects, and Zhang has hopes of further developing the system to the point of allowing others to customise his designs to create unique pieces of their own.
The Birmingham Library Side Table | Monument Series, 2015
Basswood with resin inlay
23.2 x 25.2 x 23.7 in
58.8 x 64 x 60.3 cm
Edition of 8 + 1P + 1AP
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery ALL + Design Miami/ 2015.
In looking at The Birmingham Library Side Table, it makes sense to learn that its designer, Naihan Li, studied both design and architecture. A part of Li’s I AM MONUMENT series, the idea for the collection originated from the desire in the Chinese market for large-scale installations for the home. The series goes about shrinking landmark buildings by 100 times, and morphing them into pieces of functional furniture.
Naihan Li got her start as a designer by way of a collaboration with Ai Weiwei, and opened her own studio in 2010. She has since continued her collaborations with Weiwei, having designed the Un-Named section of the Gwanjiu Design Biennale in 2011 under the senior artist’s art direction.
American duo Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch make up design studio Aranda\Lasch, which is based out of New York and Tucson. The experimental research and innovative building studio was established in 2003, where the talented namesakes behind the venture go about designing everything from buildings and installations; to objects, furniture, and even video works.
Aranda and Lasch are multi-award winning designers who have exhibited in galleries and other institutions all over the world. The studio, Aranda\Lasch, has won a haul of accolades, including the United States Artists Award and Young Architects Award; and have won commissions from MoMA, and for the Design Miami pavilion installation in 2008 and 2009.
Wendell Castle is one of America’s most distinguished designer-craftsmen and a leader in the American art furniture movement. Not only a master furniture maker, Castle is also a designer, sculptor, and educator. Enjoying a prolific career which is now in its sixth decade, Castle has not been reluctant to move his methods forward with the times. A craftsman first, Castle now uses a multitude of digital tools to create his sensuous wood works, which he says has liberated his process.
Wendell Castle lives, works, and teaches, in Rochester, New York. He received the Modernism Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum in 2007, and has won a multitude of other accolades. His works reside in the permanent collections of many museums; including MoMA, the Met, and the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum.
Jos Devriendt’s mushroom lamps are more than just whimsical little light fixtures. The artist, designer, and potter, has been fascinated for years by the idea of creating a sculpture that could have two lives; and the pieces in his series Day & Night are the result of that 20 year exploration. The pieces are bright, fun, ceramic mushroom-like objects by day, and abstract light-sculptures by night.
Jos Devriendt studied ceramics and sculpture in Ghent, Belguim, and has held solo exhibitions everywhere from Ghent, to London, New York, and Tokyo. His works are based on the idea of a late-surrealist concept – that which influences his crafting of industrial ceramics using traditional methods, and his hunt for simple solutions to complex problems.
Obsidian is a kind of volcanic glass which forms when lava cools at such a speed that the atoms from which it is made are unable to form a crystalline structure. An igneous rock known as mineraloid, the glass is smooth with an even texture, and has a very high silica content. A strangely useful material, the rock was used in stone-aged tools, and remains to be utilised in modern day surgical equipment.
Artist and designer Eduardo Olbés’ series’ of Smoking Mirrors was inspired by the symbolism of the Aztec God Tezcatlipoca, whose name literally translates as ‘smoking mirror’. A series of small sculptures which use either obsidian or black jade as the ‘mirror’ aspect of the piece, the collection On Reflection: Smoking Mirrors and other vanities has been specially created for the Design Miami/ 2015 Design Curio programme.
OVER UNDER CHAISE, 2015
Steel, Linen, Danish Cord, Walnut, Leather
58 x 22 x 60 in
147.3 x 55.9 x 152.4 cm
Edition 15/15 + 3AP
Courtesy of the artist and Giovanni Beltran + Design Miami/ 2015.
Jonathan Gonzalez wears a lot of hats. Not only is Gonzalez a designer; but he’s also an architect, and the founder and creative director of a multidisciplinary design house and fabrication studio. So it’s hardly any wonder that there’s a lot going on in his collection, The Storefront.
Comprising of seven pieces of furniture and objects of design, Gonzalez’s The Storefront is another participant in the Design Curio exhibition. Every piece has a minimalist form which has been elevated by intricate and focused detailing, and each work can be interacted with in more than one way, as well as often having more than one utility. A collection of seriously useful, but vibrantly fun, pieces; the Over Under Chaise (above) means to bring together leisure and refuge.
If you look through Gareth Neal’s curious piece of woodwork, rather than at it, you can see something hiding beneath all of those illusory lines. Neal has mastered a brilliant way of cobbling together both new and old processes to create his works, which makes them an almost always exemplary example of how exciting tradition can be when it’s straddling the lines of contemporary design.
This dresser (above) is called Ash George, and has all the lines of a contemporary oak chest – but if you look closely, you’ll see that hiding beneath is a 1780’s George III commode. Achieved with the help of a computer-controlled routing machine, as well as a bit of hand-carving, Ash George is a kind of ‘fossil’; revealing it’s origins through the sleek lines of the times.
This isn’t the first time Humans Since 1982 have shown up here at Outlet – and it’s unlikely to be the last. The Stockholm-based design studio of Per Eman and Bastian Bischoff takes common objects (clocks, surveillance cameras, LEDs, etcetera) and re-imagines them as conceptual works of art and design.
Humans Since 1982 have made many a grand large-scale work, like their Surveillance Chandelier or kinetic installation A million times – the latter of which is the origin of A Million Times 24 V – marble (above). A clustering of 24 clocks which function like an analog timepiece, with arms which dance around seemingly on their own accord, the clocks perfectly coordinate themselves every so often to display the time in a digital format.
The Dawn series of lights by Sabine Marcelis was commissioned by Victor Hunt Designart Dealer, who are showing the works in their booth at Design Miami/ 2015. An exploration of the relationship between light and colour, the work is inspired by the time of day when the sun, clouds, and sky, join together and create a ‘momentary riot of hues’.
A continuation of one of Marcelis’ earlier works, Voie Light Series #1, the Dawn series features pieces containing a single white neon tube embedded in cast resin, so as to highlight the manipulation of colour and it’s intersection with the light.
If you’d like to learn more about the fair, or discover some of Design Miami/ 2015 for yourself, head on over to their website and have a look around: miami2015.designmiami.com