Written by Eduardo Silva
Design Miami presented its most far-reaching edition ever over the past week, somewhat in contrast with the state of the world and reaffirming design’s strong bonding power. ‘Looking around our world in 2017 – from the US to the UK, France and beyond – it is with great pride that this edition of Design Miami/Basel will be the most diverse ever,’ said Rodman Primack, fair’s chief creative officer. ‘More countries than any previous edition are represented at the fair and a broader range of styles and aesthetics than ever before.’
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At this year’s showcase, the largest to date, there was a visible tension between past and future. While some displays, like a radical show of Rapid Liquid Printing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Self-Assembly Lab, focused on the possibilities of innovation, a number of designers showed concern that tradition and cultural identity are being left behind.
‘Construction Deconstruction,’ presented by House of Today
Design Curio, a series of 11 displays at Design Miami, provides visitors with a snapshot of the global design landscape.
Lebanese designers Sayar & Garibeh, Rami Dalle and Khaled El Mays. Owner Cherine Magrabi Tayeb said: “Design Miami is the prefect platform for our designers to overcome the voice of political instabilities and show a different face to the world, it’s the moment for us to share our cultural identity.”
‘Time for Oatmeal’ by Fernando and Humberto Campana, presented by LizWorks
In a timber-lined booth encrusted with oats, Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana presented oatmeal bowls: one made from terracotta and another cast in bronze.
Humberto spoke of the brothers’ work with children in Brazil’s favelas: “Me and my brother teach primary school kids to work with their hands, making things from the leftover materials around them — things like slats of wood and plastic toys. The workshops give them self-esteem and show them that there are other possibilities.”
Rapid Liquid Printing
Gallerist Patrick Parrish teamed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Self-Assembly Lab and Christophe Guberan to present the Lab’s Rapid Liquid Printing technology to Design Miami visitors. Exhibited for the first time, a robotic arm prints silicone rubber tote bags in a glass tank of translucent gel displayed in the center of the space. After printing, each bag is removed, cleaned, and put on display.
Furniture by Tom Sachs, presented by Salon 94
New York gallery Salon 94 showcased a series of pieces by sculptor Tom Sachs. Deeply rooted in American space and technology policies, Sachs’ investigations into industrialized production nod to spacecraft construction with the use of bullet-proof materials and typefaces borrowed form NASA.
‘The Edge of What We Know’ by Lindsey Adelman
Lindsey Adelman exhibited an intricate kinetic lighting installation informed by the writings of theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli. Adelman believes the processes her studio applies to design work can also be applied to the way we discuss differences in political opinion: “I think it’s about human-to-human interaction. Opinions may not be as solid as one assumes. We need to ask how can we influence them without being combative,” she said.
‘Residual Time Energy Blowout’ by David Lindberg, presented by Camp Design Gallery
Milan’s Camp Design Gallery showed a series of specially commissioned light works by David Lindberg.
‘Insubordinate Creatures’ by Ellen Grieg and Elisabeth von Krogh, presented by Norwegian Crafts and Galleri Format Oslo
Norwegian Crafts, an Oslo-based organisation exhibiting the tactile work of textile artist Ellen Grieg, and characterful ceramics by artist Elisabeth von Krogh.
Brick Study bench by Bijoy Jain, presented by Maniera
At Belgian gallery Maniera’s booth, Indian architect Bijoy Jain’s furniture collection touched upon the housing crisis in India.
“The bricks reference the huge housing problem in India,” said gallery co-founder Amaryllis Jacobs. “He wanted to use bricks as they are made from earth — a material that is accessible to everyone. Bijoy is actually working on a personal project: an easy-to-build small housing module that is affordable but isn’t lacking in comfort.”
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