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Art Week in Miami might be dominated by Art Basel, but Design Miami is the place where art and design collide in the best way. Top designers and artists from around the globe presented their latest creations for making the home more beautiful and interesting at the 2019 edition of the show. From vintage to luxe to cutting-edge and everything in between, the range of creative pieces is stunning…as are the prices. Even if you can’t afford these originals, the show is still a feast for the senses and a wealth of inspiration. Here is a selection of our favorites:
This marvelous table was designed by Fernando Laposse, who is a Mexican designer based in London. Laposse specializes in transforming natural materials into collectible pieces that are far more than the sum of their parts. Using sisal, he dyes, stitches and transforms the material into unique pieces like this glass-topped coffee table and a similar long bench. The pink beauty was part of the booth presented by AGO Projects, which is based in Mexico City and has offices in New York.
The Future Perfect
You can’t help but love these peopley-looking Nalgona chairs presented by The Future Perfect. Designed by Chris Wolston, they are crafted from 100% Colombian wicker, called mimbre. The different arm gestures and variations in the seatbacks create a grouping as diverse as any group of actual people. The chairs have a steel frame and were produced in a limited edition of eight.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Carpenter’s Workshop featured chairs by Virgil Abloh, but we gravitated to these hefty tables by Charles Trevelyan that punctuated a grassy expanse. The sculptural tables, made from Hotavlje Stone that was sourced in Slovenia, have a modern elegance that sets them apart. The Australian-born, London-based designer is known for his sculptural pieces that range from bronze and aluminum to timber, and marble, among others.
Converso Modern won “Best Gallery” booth at Design Miami this year for this display of pieces inspired by Osvaldo Borsani. The gallery teamed up with renowned decorator Billy Cotton for the arrangement, which is a stunning modern space. From the Osvaldo and Valeria Borsani Unique Desk to the duo’s revolving coffee table, the pieces are important works that are still as fresh today as they were decades ago when first created. Converso has developed a premier reputation for its modern furnishings and objects by architects, rare prototypes, and limited editions.
era studio apartment gallery
Slight in volume but very striking and statuesque, these chairs designed by Mario Ceroli were an attention-getting grouping. Presented by era studio apartment gallery, the “Mobili nella Valle” chairs from 1965 are called the “perfect union of reality and fiction.” This is because they are highly functional but have very unusual shapes. Ceroli was said to be a three-dimensional, sculptural rendition of the painting of master artist Giorgio De Chirico.
Galerie Scene Ouvert
A console table with an otherworldly vibe, the Pseudosphère Consol by artist Nadège Mouyssinat melds a functional piece with pure sculptural artistry. Crafted from porcelain and steel, it evokes the feel of a landscape and futuristic castle spires all at the same time. Presented by Galerie Scene Ouvert, the console is a grand example of Mouyssinat’s technical mastery of porcelain, which she honed while working as a designer for Limoges.
Large and dominant, the sinuous black Volcano Coffee Table by Israel’s Gal Gaon is the focal point of the room. We love the curves and the three unique legs that support it. Presented by Hostler Burrows, the piece is crafted from oak and walnut, with the wood grain pattern a major feature, along with the accented open hole toward one end. Gaon’s work follows an artistic philosophy that highlights the anomalies and features the differences. The velvety deep black wood is contrasted by the lighter wood that highlights the opening.
Friedman Benda actually was in two different booths at Design Miami and both were spectacular for different reasons, so we have to show them to you. First was Daniel Arsham: Objects for Living, which was the gallery’s collaboration with the designer, resulting in a space enclosed by opaque green glass walls. Inside, Arsham created a room that was meant to be a “cabinet of curiosities” to show off his futuristic works. While there were a number of fascinating pieces, this foam and resin desk was a favorite, with its silhouette that looks like it had pieces bitten out of it, not just along the edges, but also on the top surface.
In the main Friedman Benda booth, we were drawn to these floor lamps that look like they belong in a Tim Burton movie or a Dr. Seuss book. Created by the UK’s chef-turned-designer Jonathan Trayte, the Pink hot Solar Buzzer floor lamps are cactus-looking fixtures that are especially unusual because of Trayte’s use of unexpected finishes. In this case, a furry coat covers the organically shaped trunks and arms of the sculptural light.
Virgil Abloh for Galerie Kreo
Darling of the design and fashion worlds, Virgil Abloh (also the artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection) has an upcoming show of his works in Paris, but those at Design Miami got a sneak peek in the Galerie Kreo booth. A selection of Abloh’s EFFLORESCENCE collection was on show, including the stainless steel mirror and the concrete chairs, each one of which is signed. The lamp alongside these pieces is a vintage fixture by Italian Designer Gino Sarfatti and is just one of the more than 400 lamps he created during his lifetime.
There isn’t a room we can think of that wouldn’t be a great home for this Irwin Coffee Table by American designer Jonathan Nesci. Part of his new collaboration with Galerie VIVID, the table is meant to celebrate simple shapes, exacting precision and honest materials. Nesci said it is inspired by the nine domes of the all-glass former Irwin Union Bank, originally designed in 1951 by Eero Saarinen in Columbus, Ohio — the artist’s hometown. made from aluminum, the round inserts are polished acrylic that is One-inch thick.
Institute of Contemporary Arts x Artek
These fun ‘Untitled (Kiss)’ Stools 60 are by artist Barbara Kruger that are the first in a series of collaborations with Artek, a Finnish furniture company. The London institute will ultimately create a series of takes on the iconic artists’ customizations of the iconic Stool 60 by renowned designer Alvar Aalto’s. Kruger is widely known for her collaged photographs that are actually thought-provoking statements on contemporary issues like feminism, and identity politics.
Jason Jacques Gallery
Part functional furniture, part fantastical creature, The Jackrabbit bench by ceramic artist and sculptor Nick Weddell is hard to overlook. From the unusual technique to the more “monstrous” elements like multiple eyeballs and large mouths with teeth, it straddles the worlds of art and design. Weddell’s creations are known for their style, which “challenges mundanity and forges joy by rebounding between absurd seduction and unsettling repulsion.”
The astounding work of Japanese artist Katsuyo Aoki is impossible to pass by because it is so complex and intricate, that it’s hard to believe it’s made from porcelain. She is now for using this delicate material to turn grim skull shapes into something very beautiful. “Skulls express the sacred and vulgar atmosphere of the present age,” Aoki has said. Her works have been purchased by a number of top museums and collectors.
Joseph Walsh Studio
Spectacular, flowing pieces of wood form this collection from the Jason Walsh Studio of Ireland. The Enignum freeform seat is made from white oiled ash and the Eximon side table is crafted from Connemara marble. Behind those pieces is Gestures, a screen that is also made from white oiled ash. Designer-maker Walsh has developed his own creative process that transforms the fluidity of a sketch into its final crafted form. Walsh not only makes these types of custom and limited edition pieces, but he and his studio also manufacture striking sculptures of wood on a massive scale for installations.
When a brand name is synonymous with luxury style, you expect nothing less than spectacular from its furniture collection as well. This is the case with Louis Vuitton and the Objets Nomades collection, which consists of limited-edition furnishings. This year, the brand debuted a shelving unity by Andrew Kudless, and this Diamond Sofa by Marcel Wanders, which is accented by leather Flower Field Cushions from Atelier Oï.
The most striking piece — and not because it was bright yellow — was this Bulbo chair by Fernando & Humberto Campana of Brazil. Having debuted during Milan Design Week earlier in 2019, the seat has the form of a hollowed-out blossom into which you can nestle. The petals are made of textile and leather. It is bright, bold, and a real standout in the collection.
Front and center of the Moderne Gallery exhibition was this set by designer Paul T. Frankl, and rightly so. This set is the “Speed Lounge” chairs and coffee table, which have been called unique and extremely important. Part of the special nature comes from the fact that the designer had never used this type of cork veneer before, and certainly not in this quantity. Experts have called it the “consummate expression of the 1930s American modernist aesthetic.”
With an airy feeling reminiscent of butterfly wings, or delicate leaf skeletons, these small tables by Swedish artist Hanna Hedman have a near fairy tale quality. Despite being a jeweler, she has created all sorts of public and large-scale works in Sweden. Called Becoming Nature, the collection was created just for Design Miami and Hedman collaborated with Ornamentum to bring these larger-scale works to the United States. The pieces include of tables and chairs which are all made of laser cut steel that is powder coated and hand-painted.
While not a design for the home, each year the Perrier Jouet immersive installation is a wonder of creativity and artistry. For 2019, it was “Metamorphosis,” which was designed to link the brand’s vineyards, cellars and champagnes. Created by Italian designer Andrea Mancuso, it was inspired by his visit to the vineyards in Epernay and their vibrant colors as well as the darker atmosphere of the cellars. There are 11,000 ceramic rounds that make up the flowing walls of color and each is meant to evoke the bottles resting in the cellar. Each of the six alcoves features one of the Metamorphosis glassware collection made for the occasion. The entire installation was realized in collaboration with ceramicists Alessio Sarri and Nuevoforme
Phillipe Gravier Gallery
The name of Odile Decq’s Splash! tables are very apropos. Shown by the Phillipe Gravier gallery, they are true to their namesake because they look just like big splashes of happy, bright color. The coffee tables are indeed a welcome change from the usual rounds and rectangles and would be a great addition to any modern or contemporary living room. We also think the dining room table would make for some very interesting dinner parties!
R & Company
Divided into three separate sections, the R&Company booth presented a challenge in choosing what to show you, but ultimately you need to see this first-ever immersive space full of works by Rogan Gregory. It is said to be inspired by deep-sea creatures as well as extraterrestrial forms. The entire room is centered around the massive sculptural fireplace and quite literally topped off by an imposing and hard-to-describe lighting fixture.
Called In Circulation, these bus stop benches were presented by Rooms Studio in collaboration with Max Machaidze. Artists Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia of Rooms Studio were just children when the Soviet Union collapsed and freedom became a possibility. These bus stop benches were often scratched with names, markings and messages, which made a strong impression on the two. Their works now are a study of the benches’ visual appeal and the reasons why people marked them up.
Salon 94 Gallery
Design Miami’s first juried awards presentation chose this piece — the Savage Chair by designer Jay Sae Jung Oh — as the Best in Show. Presented by Salon 94 the seemingly organic shape, with its random bumps, blocks and protrusions is actually made from randomly found items — from toys to household objects. All of the items are arranged into a form, which the designer then meticulously wraps in very thin strips of raw leather cord. This chair is part of an entire series, all created using the same eye-popping technique.
The colorful pieces in this booth by the Side Gallery are great, but the highlight is the Fardos sofa by Brazilian designer Ricardo Fasanello in 1971. The vintage sofa — which is in impeccable condition — consists of three big leather-covered rolls that are strapped into place with bands made of canvas. In front of the sofa is a great minimalist piece: the coffee table by New Zealand-born Sabine Marcelis, made from onyx and cast resin.
Always a highlight, Porky Hefer’s hanging pods were again a draw for the Southern Guild booth. This year, rather than having animal shapes, they were inspired by different chemical compounds. Dubbed “Molecules” pods, this one is the “Dihydrogen Monoxide” pod and the one on the background is called Fluoroheliate Monoxide and fits two people. All of the South African artist’s works are lined in sheepskin and upholstered with leather.
Among the other works in the booth, there were five from designers Dokter and Misses from their first solo exhibition. This is the Forty Percent Chance desk, whose irregular shape is a common theme among all the pieces. This desk and an array of irregular cabinets are said to be inspired “by the entropy and oversaturation the designers experience on a daily basis in downtown Johannesburg and in urban ecosystems in general.” The separate sections of this unique desk are made from hand-painted steel and printed glass.
Another large-scale installation, the Atelier Swarovski space was a jaw-dropping, glittering display of crustal in various forms. Designer and collaborator Tord Boontje created nature-inspired installations in the booth. We could not take our eyes off the glittering canopy of his Blossom chandeliers that dominated the room that displayed cases of jeweled creations, including the Botanical Jewels collection by Penélope Cruz which will benefit Swarovski Foundation partner, The Nature Conservancy. Inspired by a frozen blossom branch after an ice storm, Boontje’s forest of crystal fixtures were asymmetrical and oh-so-sparking.
Todd Merrill Studio
Visiting the Todd Merrill Studio booth is like being a kid in a candy store because you want to look at everything and you just don’t know where to begin. This sofa was a standout for its faceted shape, which we immediately fell in love with. Designer Hannes Grebin of Berlin made this sofa as part of The Cozy Collection that applies the principles of Cubism to design. Grebin deconstructed the traditional furniture elements of the living room and reconstructed them into forms made from geometric shapes and interlocking planes. Upholstered in silk velvet, the sofa features legs made of cast bronze by Markus Haase.
Also in the Todd Merrill Studio booth, pieces by Marc Fish were mesmerizing, including this Ethereal Series Console Tables. Fish’s one-of-a-kind pieces are made with his masterful work with micro stack-lamination. Truly ethereal, as their name suggests, the pieces are made from his innovative material that combines resin with wood laminations. The way the light passes through and reflects on these elements changes the way they look, even as it maintains a leaf-like appearance.
Last but certainly not least, we love how artist Roberto Lugo combines the large porcelain objects with art to create a work that speaks to the current pervasive street violence in our cities. “Street Shrine 1: A Notorious Story” uses two massive funerary urns and a ceramic teddy bear, along with graffiti-inspired wallpaper, to represent the all-too-commonplace make-shift memorials for victims of gun violence.
From wall to wall, amazingly creative inspiration was everywhere, so this collection is just a smattering of our favorites. Even though these works are very high-end designs and one-of-a-kind pieces, they are still fodder for the imagination on how you can incorporate new, fresh and edgy designs into your home decor.
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