- 2017 fair hosted 34 galleries from 9 countries, alongside 11 Design Curios
- Several institutional acquisitions confirmed
- Exhibited pieces ranged from simple to technical with common theme of utopian aspirations
- Gallery program exhibited tendency to showcase pieces that instill comfort, coziness and solitude which was reinforced by solid sales
- Stronger sales results than ever before for vintage American designs
- Fair location confirmed for 6 more years and will remain immediately adjacent to Art Basel at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the site will be redeveloped as a City Park
Design Miami/ completed its 13th edition this weekend, following six days of more than 38,000 visits by the collectible design world’s top collectors, curators and members of museum leadership. Themes of past and future, of optimism and philanthropy ran through this year’s fair, and a general spirit of creating a more sustainable world along with a freshly contextualized view of Americana, that melded Shaker with the New Hope School.
Galleries exhibiting pieces designed with utopian aspirations took center stage. First-time gallerist, Converso, presented a solo show of pieces by California modernist architect, Albert Frey, who came to envision the California desert, particularly Palm Springs, as a utopian site to pursue the purity of his architectural ideals. Frey realized a small number of minimalist residences that organically integrate into the surrounding desert. Another first-timer to the fair, Maison Gerard, presented a futuristic isolation sphere from the 1970’s, designed by French architect Maurice-Claude Vidili, intended as a reprieve from the outside world. Fernando and Humberto Campana were a frequently showcased designer duo across the gallery program due to the strong demand for this aesthetic. Exhibitors included LIZWORKS, Friedman Benda, and more.
John Keith Russell exhibited a new typology of design to the fair with Shaker furniture. These simplistic nineteenth-century pieces came from a community in Hancock, Massachusetts championing purity of design, form and functionality. A suite of designers followed this design aesthetic, particularly in America, which had a heavy hand throughout this year’s gallery program. Prominent American designers dispersed throughout the fair were well received by attendees and collectors including pieces by George Nakashima at Todd Merrill Studio and Moderne Gallery.
Rodman Primack, Chief Creative Officer of Design Miami/ said of this year’s fair: “There was a distinct commonality behind much of the gallery content this year: furniture with ideals and ideal furniture. These shared narratives lent a level of cohesion rarely achieved; many gallerists seemed to share a common spirit and we are so pleased they brought it to us here in Miami. From the absolute simplicity and utility of the Shaker furniture movement at John Keith Russell’s booth, to the space-age 1971 Isolation Sphere by Maurice-Claude Vidili, at Miason Gerard, we saw design for a better lived life take center stage. Around town, and within our Design Talks program specifically, conversations surrounding advocacy and sustainability were brought to the forefront with a special focus this year on raising awareness, and implementing better practices that support the long-term health and wellbeing of our environment and its inhabitants.”
On the opposite end of the scale, technology and forward-thinking conversations were prominent not only under the Design Miami/ tent, but around town. The Design Curio Rapid Liquid Printing by The MIT Self-Assembly Lab + Christophe Guberan presented by Patrick Parrish Gallery saw a constant stream of guests exploring the space and discussing the wide range of possibilities in furniture design with this newly unveiled technology and the potential for materials. Exploring sustainability and community was frequently discussed within the Design Talks program. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation tackled these issues along with art and design as a platform for visualizing change and catalyzing societal action.
Other notable highlights from the gallery program include Tom Sachs’s foray into design with Salon 94 Design. The sculptor has been making one-off furniture for over thirty years, but the plywood and Lexan collection he presented is his first investigation into industrialized production. Galerie Patrick Seguin, known for their showcasing of twentieth-century French designers, featured a suite of furniture by Jean Royère, presented within a vignette in the gallery’s space under the tent. All pieces were sold. Incredible collectible jewelry, from contemporary designers and historic collections alike, were also interspersed throughout the gallery program with big pieces from names in the art world such as Alexander Calder at Louisa Guinness Gallery.
Sales spanned era and provenance at the fair, with historic work selling in equal proportion to contemporary material. Highlights are as follows:
- Galerie Patrick Seguin of London and Paris sold all of its Jean Royère pieces.
- Galerie VIVID of Rotterdam sold the MR10 Chair by Mies Van der Rohe and the Berlin Chair by Gerrit Rietveld, both from 1923.
- Salon 94 Design of New York sold Core, a large-scale bench sculpture by Philippe Malouin for $145,000.
- Converso of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles sold the Albert Frey Globe Lamp to publisher Benedikt Taschen, a friend of the late architect and designer. The gallery also sold the Albert Frey Daybed ($35,000), the Albert Frey Ottoman ($12,000), the Marion Geller lamp ($27,000), and the Philip Johnson lamp ($12,000).
- Friedman Benda of New York sold a Christopher Schanck cabinet in the first hour of the fair–– Schanck’s prices range from $20,000 to $150,000.
- The Future Perfect of New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco sold all of its vessels, by a range of designers.
- Ornamentum, of Hudson, New York, sold the silver-plated wall piece Platter / Ratherby Jaydan Moore to a major American museum, as yet unnamed, for $46,000.
This edition of the fair was also noted for its stellar attendance by influential figures spanning design, art, architecture, film, television, fashion and finance. Some of these individuals are listed below:
Aaron Betsky, Alberto (Tico) and Colby Mugrabi, Alexa Chung, Ambassador Italy: Armando Varricchio and Ambassadress Varricchio, Ana Kras, Annabelle Selldorf, Anne Pasternak, Boris Vervoordt, Bruce Karatz, Camila Morrone, Consul general of France: Clément Lerclerc, Daniel Arsham, Dasha Zhukova, David Mugrabi, Derek Blasberg, Dev Hynes, Dominique Lévy, Eli and Edythe Broad, Elle Macpherson, Frank Ocean, French Ambassador: Gérard Araud, Hank Willis Thomas, Humberto Campana, Jaime Frankfurt, Jeanne Donovan Fischer, Jeremy Scott, Jose Diaz, Julie Hillman, Justine Ludwig, Konstantin Grcic, Kristen McGinnis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lilly Tartikoff, Luis La Place, Marina Bellelli, Mark Ronson, Neil Barrett, Nicholas Ghesquiere, Norman Foster, Peter Marigold, Pierre Yovanovitch, Rafael de Cárdenas, Sandra Brant, Sela Ward, Sir David and Lady Ashley Adjaye, Soumaya Slim, Stavros Merjos, Stephanie Ann Shepherd, Theodore and Isabella Dalenson, Tico Mugrabi, Tory Burch, Victoria de Rothschild, Virgil Abloh , Young Paris
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