Best of Design Miami 2023

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In recent weeks, Miami has become the epicenter for the art and design community, hosting a dynamic six-day showcase of design unveilings and temporary installations during Art Basel and Design Miami 2023. Navigating through this city-wide festival is akin to gauging the heartbeat of the creative sector, revealing the current influences on artists and creators in terms of forms, concepts, and materials.

The visual appeal of Miami Art Week has frequently centered on the potential of technology. And though there was plenty of evidence at this edit, Craft took the spotlight at this year’s edition in Miami, bringing together over 40 design exhibitors. Fully on trend with the new artisanship, works of wood, ceramics, metal cast, textiles, and natural fibers had their place, alongside exploration with 3D printing of waste material into more sustainable and durable materials.

Here are some of our favorites and the most awarded works by Design Miami:

Our Top Picks

 

1. Armadillo Series by Lukas Wegwerth

 

The work of Berlin-based designer Lukas Wegwerth explores tensions – the tension between the natural and the artificial, between organic growth and creative intervention, and between the unexpected and the controllable. He manipulates natural processes to create his designs and explores ways an object can acquire new meanings over time. Lukas works primarily with found, organic materials, and his designs explore notions of growth and transformation, of memory and time. The Armadillo series was pigmented by the designer in his studio; hand-carved wooden shingles compose a series of a screen, a bench, and a low table. His works are represented by Gallery Fumi.

Using shingles to build protective skins is a natural strategy that can be found in numerous life forms: formation of scales are found in the skin of fish or snakes, in butterfly wings or the dorsal shells of armadillos. Curves and bulges uncover the workings and logics of this strategy – forming areas of elongated and slim shingles or short and dished ones, large and wide or dense and delicate.

Lucas Wegwerth

 

Armadillo by Lukas Wegwerth

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2. The Pollination Dance by Fernando Laposse

 

The collaboration and installation aim to showcase Perrier-Jouet’s and Fernando Laposse‘s shared interest in the relationship between art and nature, in addition to referencing how Perrier-Jouët’s aesthetic is rooted in the botanical Art Nouveau movement.

The Pollination Dance highlights the integral role of a flower in the ecosystem, particularly in the context of pollination. Perrier-Jouët describes it as a “celebration of life characterized by harmonious interactions among diverse species. The installation is conceptualized as a garden, intending to display the intricate and harmonious relationships between plants, insects, and animals.

Constructed from eco-resin and sage starch, the structure comprises diverse 3D-printed figurines representing birds, leaves, and flowers. This artistic representation seeks to emphasize the complex yet harmonious interactions within the natural world.

The area is enveloped in sheer silk drapes, skillfully crafted by silkworms and dyed with cochineal and Mexican marigold flowers, creating an immersive atmosphere. The ‘branches’ of the installation consist of lifeless vines sourced from the liana plant, collected from the forest floor in Mexico by Laposse.

Hourglasses strategically placed within the installation feature yellow sand, symbolizing pollen. Pollen embodies the start of a new cycle, the all-important process of pollination.As the sand flows from the hourglasses onto the branches and flowers of the installation, it visually narrates the crucial role of pollen in the intricate process of pollination.

 

“The concept is pollination and I wanted to represent it in all aspects. To represent the pollen, I used a yellow dyed sand.

All the 3D printed elements are done with a soy starch eco resin which gives the impression of frosted glass.

Fernando Laposse

 

Top Picks Design Miami Fernando Laposse

Top Picks Design Miami Fernando Laposse

Top Picks Design Miami Fernando Laposse

Top Picks Design Miami Fernando Laposse

Image courtesy Maison Perrier-Jouët

 

3. Zagwe Cabinet by Jomo Tariku

The Zagwe dynasty is estimated to have ruled part of Ethiopia between 900 – 1200 CE after the demise of the Axumite kingdom. Many rock-hewn churches were completed during this time in and around the city of Lalibela. Unlike most of the churches in Lalibela “Yemerhane Kiristos” was erected using stone and wood emulating architectural works found around Axum to the north of it by even introducing protruding rectangular logs instead of round shapes found on the Axum stele.

By taking cues from both kingdoms, Jomo Tariku has created a new design language that venerates the past and moves the dialogue of vernacular design forward. This mix of alternating white and brown texture and material is the inspiration behind the Zagwe Wardrobe, which is his first large-scale work in walnut, ash, and Baltic birch. His work was represented in Miami by  the Wexler Gallery.

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Zagwe dynasty Jomo-Tariku-Design-miami-2023-top-picks

 

 

4. The Space in Between by Rive Roshan

Top Picks Design Miami 2023

In a moment marked by division, this poetic sanctuary presented by Rademakers Gallery explores design as a tool for nurturing reflection, fresh ways of seeing, and, ultimately, the designer’s hope and connection.

For the two designers Ruben de la Rive Box and Golnar Roshan of Rive Roshan, the in-between space is not empty; they know how to shape the way people feel in that space. With their carefully chosen materials and research into colors and shapes, they create a series of new transformative objects playing with light, movement, reflection, and perception.

Beautifully hued glass works transform under the influence of light and reflection, highlighting the experience of shifting viewpoints. 3D printed sand vessels—marriages of natural materials and technological innovation—seemingly dance, evoking the power of the human spirit, in tribute to all those who bravely stand for freedom in our day. Rive Roshan’s objects and the physical and metaphorical space between them have the power to make us reflect on our presence in the space and make us feel positive and safe.

In a moment marked by polarisation around the world, The Space in Between aims to provide visitors a moment of pause and inspiration—through poetic ribbed glass wall hangings and furnishings that highlight shifting perspectives; the marriage of natural materials and technological innovation via 3D-printed vessels, and evocative, freely-moving forms that call to mind the power of the human spirit. Our inner space is a reflection of the environment surrounding us and forages a path to connection.

Top Picks Design Miami 2023 Rive Roshan

Image Courtesy Rive Roshan

A development from their 3D printed Sand in Motion collection, the ‘Voices’ vessels collection is a detailed collection, with organic shapes that seem to make fluid movements like spinning dancers dressed in pleated fabric. The dancing pieces, caught in a moment of time, are echoes of the voices of Iranian women calling for freedom.

 

Design Miami Awards:

Best Contemporary Work

The One-Seater Concrete Tree (2022), a creation by the exceptional Netherlands-based artist-designer Nacho Carbonell, has been honored with the Best Contemporary Work award. Represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, this distinctive masterpiece is meticulously handcrafted from concrete, steel, mesh, and cork.

Standing at an impressive height of nearly 12 feet, the piece is a unique and monumental marvel. It provides an enchanting seating experience, resembling a rustic yet majestic throne, inviting contemplation beneath a copperish pink canopy adorned with twinkling lights. The direct link to nature reframes the majesty of the throne.

I like to see objects as living organisms, imagine them coming alive and being able to surprise you with their behaviour.. I want to create objects with my hands; then I can give them my personality.[…] In short, what I want to create  are objects with a fictional or fantasy element that allow you to escape everyday life.

Nacho Carbonell

Nacho-Carbonell-Best-Of-Contemporary-Work-Design-Miami-2023

Photo © James Harris for Design Miami

Best Curio Presentation

Raise the Moral, the Los Angeles-based studio founded by Moral Turgeman, renowned for its expertise in sensory and experiential design, has been honored with the Best Curio Presentation Award. Marking her debut at Design Miami, Turgeman joined forces with designer Kelsey Falter to create “Becoming Familiar,” an installation designed to foster reconnection within the human body. This immersive experience incorporates vibrantly designed objects with the aim of restoring life-force energy. The installation introduces a serene moment amidst the typically lively ambiance of the fair.

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Photo © James Harris for Design Miami

Best Gallery Presentation

London’s Gallery FUMI has earned the prestigious Best Gallery Presentation Award for its refined yet warm display of recently revealed contemporary designs, all meticulously crafted by a remarkable lineup of established and up-and-coming talents.

Notable features of the exhibition include the intricately layered Armadillo Collection by Berlin-based Lukas Wegwerth (more on that,t further below), vibrant ceramic illuminated sculptures created by NYC artist Jeremy Anderson, the stunning Light Entanglements Chandelier crafted by Danish glass artist Stine Bidstrup, and a captivating collection of cardboard furniture envisioned by the skilled British master designer-craftsman Max Lamb.

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Photo © James Harris for Design Miami

 

Best Special Project

The Best Special Project Award has been bestowed upon Villa Albertine (they offer artist residencies tailor-made residencies for global creators, thinkers, and cultural professionals) and Mobilier National, two distinguished French cultural institutions that collaborated to champion contemporary French craftsmanship.

Their joint effort features the works of five emerging talents: Atelier George, Atelier d’Offard, Chloé Bensahel, Gala Espel, and Dimitry Hlinka. The installation, characterized by an all-white, organic, yet futuristic dreamscape, is a canvas for showcasing innovative approaches to age-old artisanal techniques. The result is a collection of objects that seamlessly bridge the realms of tradition and cutting-edge design. Between tradition and avant-gardism, the project is rooted in a reinvented artisanal technique, blending organic shapes and futuristic lines and curves. Their work develops a common language searching for the Golden Age of French decorative arts with a contemplative lens.

Atelier d’Offard presents as a series of sculptural columns supporting paper arches, champions minimalist living through immersive spaces using washi paper and eco-friendly paper-mâché; Atelier George’s “Solar Suspension” explores celestial inspiration with opaline white and veined color glass planets; Gala Espel puts a new spin on silversmithing with “Archaeology of the Future,” while Chloé Bensahel merges textile traditions and digital performance in an interactive tapestry; And rounding out the showcase, Dimitry Hlinka’s “Amplitude” reimagines the everyday radiator with abstract woodworking lines.

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Photo © James Harris for Design Miami

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