Design Miami 2021/ PREVIEW

“Contemporary collectors are looking for the bold. Highly sculptural, statement objects that have something to say."

Convention Center Drive & 19th Street, Miami Beach
1st-5th December

By TDE Editorial Team / 28th November 2021
Floris Wubben, 'Throne', ??? COURTESY: The Future Perfect

Floris Wubben, ‘Throne’, 2021
COURTESY: The Future Perfect

RETURNING TO MIAMI Beach’s Pride Park for its 17th edition, Design Miami/ welcomes back curatorial director Wava Carpenter. After having helped grow the blue-chip event in the late aughts, the culturemaker established various sales and editorial platforms such as Pamono, L’ArcoBeleno, and Berlin-based consultancy Anava Projects. In her reprised capacity, Carpenter hopes to steer the fair in a more humanistic direction, choosing as her overarching theme, ‘Human·Kind’.

Khaled El Mays, 'NN Chair', 2021 COURTESY: House of Today & Khaled El Mays

Khaled El Mays, ‘NN Chair’, 2021
COURTESY: House of Today & Khaled El Mays

“If there is agreement about anything amid our polarised times, it is that maintaining the status quo is no longer an option,” she explains. “So many creatives right now are using their practices and platforms to put some good in the world. Brands and buyers are following suit. This show is meant to shine a light on those efforts, from environmental actions to questioning systems that enable inequities.”

J. McDonald, 'Swarm Credenza', 2021 COURTESY: Objective Gallery & J. McDonald

J. McDonald, ‘Swarm Credenza’, 2021
COURTESY: Objective Gallery & J. McDonald

Held from 1st to 5th December and in compliance with the strictest COVID-19 protocols, Design Miami/ will feature its tried and true established roster of exhibitors: Atelier Courbet, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Friedman Benda, Jason Jacques Gallery, Magen H Gallery, Moderne Gallery, Ornamentum, R & Company, The Future Perfect, Todd Merrill Studio, Southern Guild, and Wexler Gallery.

Bohinc Studio, 'Kissing Armchair', 'Macaroon Coffee Table' and 'Moonrise Sconce', ??? COURTESY: Design Miami/ & Bohinc Studio / PHOTOGRAPH: R. Reid

Bohinc Studio, ‘Kissing Armchair’, ‘Macaroon Coffee Table’ and ‘Moonrise Sconce’, 2021
COURTESY: Design Miami/ & Bohinc Studio / PHOTOGRAPH: R. Reid

Joining this stellar cast is a robust Curio programme. A dynamic group of independent and new-format curatorial initiatives have been selected to participate. They include Los Angeles-based concrete designer James de Wulf, Mexico City’s ATRA, ceramics specialist J. Lohmann Gallery, Beirut’s House of Today, and Tom Dixon, making his return to the fair after a decade.

Sandra Davolio, 'Coral Vessels', 2021 COURTESY: J. Lohmann Gallery

Sandra Davolio, ‘Coral Vessels’, 2021
COURTESY: J. Lohmann Gallery

New York lighting studio PELLE will turn its Curio into a hall of mirrors, exploring the concept of the infinite. This backdrop will help the architecturally- and artisanally-minded practice inaugurate its latest ‘Be Patient Collection’ and updated ‘Lure Collection’. These contrasting luminaries emulate both nature and streamlined monumentalism in carefully considered material compositions. Crosby Studios’s Harry Nuriev will reveal a new immersive, monochromatically iridescent staging.

Harry Nuriev, 'The Bedroom', 2021 COURTESY: Crosby Studios

Harry Nuriev, ‘The Bedroom’, 2021
COURTESY: Crosby Studios

New York-based Twenty First Gallery are presenting Marcin Rusak’s Flora Contemporaria collection, four cabinets which pay  homage to Austrian turned Swedish architect Josef Frank’s renowned Flora cabinets of the 1930s and 1950s.

Marcin Rusak, 'Flora Cabinet 176',???? COURTESY: Marcin Rusak / PHOTOGRAPH: Mathijs Labadie

Marcin Rusak, ‘Flora Cabinet 176’, 2021
COURTESY: Marcin Rusak / PHOTOGRAPH: Mathijs Labadie

Many newcomers have chosen this moment to make their Design Miami/ debut. In general, gallerists and talents alike are opting to showcase resolute and daring works, a jolt of energy we’ve all been looking for. “Contemporary collectors are looking for the bold,” Carpenter explains. “Highly sculptural, statement objects that have something to say and don’t fade into the background. Narratives around connectivity and collaboration, as well as fantastical escapist works. So much work looks otherworldly now, whether forms that evoke a primordial past or a fairy tale.”

Nacho Carbonell, 'Bullheaded Tin Bubble Lamp', ???? COURTESY: Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Nacho Carbonell, ‘Bullheaded Tin Bubble Lamp’, 2020
COURTESY: Carpenters Workshop Gallery

From Design Miami/ 2021’s rich offering, the curatorial director has deciphered a few key through-lines from the overall list of exhibitors. Within the Aesthetics Of The Moment: The Fantastical & The Primordial/ focus, exhibitors like Shanghai’s Objective Gallery – presenting new pieces by design world provocateur Brecht Gander Wright – toe the line between the particular expressive and primitively pared back.

Brecht Wright Gander, 'Untitled', 2021 COURTESY: Brecht Wright Gander & Room 57 Gallery

Brecht Wright Gander, ‘Untitled’, 2021
COURTESY: Brecht Wright Gander & Room 57 Gallery

Tanya Aguiñiga’s draped weavings on view with Chicago’s Volume Gallery represent a more emotional tinge; works that explore the visceral feelings of grief, gratitude, rage and exhaustion – especially in the face of systemic discrimination, as well as the seemingly endless effects of the pandemic.

Tanya Aguiñiga, 'Extraño 1', 2021 COURTESY: Volume Gallery

Tanya Aguiñiga, ‘Extraño 1’, 2021
COURTESY: Volume Gallery

The second central trend of this year’s fair is ceramics. As our collective appreciation for craft and the handmade grows, partially in response to social and environmental issues, this medium is making a strong comeback. Cape Town’s Southern Guild Gallery will demonstrate this material focus with distinctive wares by Andile Dyalvane, Zizipho Poswa, Madoda Fani, and Chuma Mawen. Most of these talents use ceramics as a means of translating their Xhosa culture and spirituality into contemporary interpretations.

Zizipho Poswa, 'Umthwalo - uMacirha', 2021 COURTESY: Southern Guild

Zizipho Poswa, ‘Umthwalo – uMacirha’, 2021
COURTESY: Southern Guild

Friedman Benda will introduce never-seen-before glazed stoneware portraits by Nigerian designer Ebitenyefa Barclay. Miami gallery Mindy Solomon, meanwhile, will showcase ceramics by John Gill, Kelsie Rudolph, and Minkyu Lee, who challenge the boundaries of form with surprisingly functional results.

Ebitenyefa Baralaye, 'Portrait III', 2021 COURTESY: Friedman Benda & Ebitenyefa Baralaye

Ebitenyefa Barclay, ‘Portrait III’, 2021
COURTESY: Friedman Benda & Ebitenyefa Baralaye

Iconic works from both the contemporary and historic cannons will also be making a strong showing. Philadelphia’s Moderne Gallery will display rare mid-century modern classics by American Studio Craft movement masters. George Nakashima’s highly sought-after but hard to find 1935 ‘Karuizawa’ chair’ will be the centrepiece of the booth.

George Nakashima, 'Karuizawa' chair, 1935 COURTESY: Moderne Gallery & George Nakashima

George Nakashima, ‘Karuizawa’ chair, 1935
COURTESY: Moderne Gallery & George Nakashima

An assured highlight of the fair will be a solo show mounted by Friedman Benda of British polymath Samuel Ross’s striking furnishings. His profoundly conceptual combines – from three series entitled ‘SIGNAL’, ‘RUPTURE’ and ‘AMORPHOUS STRAND’ – are characterised as psycho-geographic explorations that pull from different ritualistic processes. To showcase these pieces. the New York gallery will transform its booth into a “liminal,” quasi-industrial setting.

Samuel Ross, 'Recover Chair', 2020 COURTESY: Friedman Benda & Samuel Ross / PHOTOGRAPH: Daniel Kukla

Samuel Ross, ‘Recover Chair’, 2020
COURTESY: Friedman Benda & Samuel Ross / PHOTOGRAPH: Daniel Kukla

Visitors to Design Miami/ 2021 will be able to use the new proprietary DM21 App, simulating the full fair in an easy-to-use digital tool. Complementing the experience of the physical event, one we’ve all been yearning for, this downloadable interface will also accommodate cryptocurrency payments and NFTs.

Tying all of this programming together is a fully curated talks series Carpenter has organised. “We’re especially proud of the digital series that will launch with the show: ‘15 Minutes on Design and Human·Kind,’” she concludes. “It includes conversations about envisioning a more just and interconnected future. Topics range from design as social practice and engaging identities to biodiversity and even psychedelics.”

Design Miami/

By TDE Editorial Team
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