Unique Furniture A Highlight At Art Basel, Miami Fairs

Visiting Art Basel and Design Miami is a delight for the senses. Homedit also found that there can be a very fine line between what is categorized as art or as design for the home. In either case, each piece — whether seating, lighting, tables or wall art — is unique furniture that is an expression of the artist’s vision and there is something to be found for every taste and sensibility.

Crowds filled the exhibit halls at all the major fairs in Miami. Homedit took in Design Miami/, Art Basel, Context, Art Miami, Pulse, NADA and the No Commission fair in Wynnwood, hosted by music superstar Swizz Beats.View in gallery
Crowds filled the exhibit halls at all the major fairs in Miami. Homedit took in Design Miami/, Art Basel, Context, Art Miami, Pulse, NADA and the No Commission fair in Wynnwood, hosted by music superstar Swizz Beats.
Israeli-born designer Ron Arad is considered to be one of the most influential designers of our era. He is known for his "daredevil curiosity about technology and materials," wrote MOMA when they mounted his first US retrospective in 2009.View in gallery
Israeli-born designer Ron Arad is considered to be one of the most influential designers of our era. He is known for his “daredevil curiosity about technology and materials,” wrote MOMA when they mounted his first US retrospective in 2009.

While Design Miami/ was the epicenter of fantastic pieces for the home, we found many examples of artful, unique furniture at all of the art shows in Miami…as well as pieces of art made from furniture.

This trio of stones in the Peter Freeman Gallery -- art installation or seating? Your choice...View in gallery
This trio of stones in the Peter Freeman Gallery — art installation or seating? Your choice…
A play on the concept of keys, this was one of the interesting, eccentric pieces centered on furniture at Art Basel.View in gallery
A play on the concept of keys, this was one of the interesting, eccentric pieces centered on furniture at Art Basel.

Many artists used everyday home items as the medium for their expression. Wall pieces made from discarded athletic shoes to artistic work made with cutlery or disposable aluminum kitchen pans, mundane items found an inserting new life in art.  This installation was a playful piece using an upright piano and focusing on the concept of keys.

Galerie Maxx Hetzler showed this partially deconstructed and reconstructed metal chair.View in gallery
Galerie Maxx Hetzler showed this partially deconstructed and reconstructed metal chair.

Seating was a very popular form of expression for artists, perhaps because it can take so many forms and sizes.

While this piece is art where form and expression take precedence, from this angle one can imagine sitting down and having the metal snake around you like growing vines.View in gallery
While this piece is art where form and expression take precedence, from this angle one can imagine sitting down and having the metal snake around you like growing vines.
The Hello Project Gallery from Houston showed this bench by young artist Travis Boyer. Part of his work called "Light Denim Conversation," it was created in 2015 and showcases some if his abstract work.View in gallery
The Hello Project Gallery from Houston showed this bench by young artist Travis Boyer. Part of his work called “Light Denim Conversation,” it was created in 2015 and showcases some of his abstract work.
Canvas chairs were literally the canvas for this artist. The pair of painted chairs was shown by the Natalie Hug Gallery at the NADA show at the Fontainebleau Hotel.View in gallery
Canvas chairs were literally the canvas for this artist. The pair of painted chairs was shown by the Natalie Hug Gallery at the NADA show at the Fontainebleau Hotel.
Canvas chairs were literally the canvas for this artist. The pair of painted chairs was shown by the Natalie Hug Gallery at the NADA show at the Fontainebleau Hotel.View in gallery
The playful layering of the photographic image and the printed paint lines and brush, are a play on the concept of the canvas, both as a medium and as seating.Galerie Heike Strelow exhibited these luminous seats, which you could see glowing from a distance. They are meant for outdoor use, particularly to blend into their natural surroundings.

Galerie Heike Strelow exhibited these luminous seats, which you could see glowing from a distance. They are meant for outdoor use, particularly to blend into their natural surroundings. Truly pieces of unique furniture.

A close up of the glass tile work by Winter/Hoerbelt. The artists Wolfgang Winter and Berthold Herbert have been cooperating under the joint name since 1992. They are known for their outdoor sculptures and installations. This one is lit with LEDs.View in gallery
A close up of the glass tile work by Winter/Hoerbelt. The artists Wolfgang Winter and Berthold Herbert have been cooperating under the joint name since 1992. They are known for their outdoor sculptures and installations. This one is lit with LEDs.
"It's Just My Appetite" bench by Glosley.View in gallery
“It’s Just My Appetite” bench by Glosley.

Grafitti art was present in many forms, including on these benches. Presented by the Lyons Wier Gallery of New York at PULSE Miami, they are functional and interesting pieces of art for modern home decor.

Focusing on benches and chairs, Glosley creates these using Spray paint, paint pens, polyurethane on kiln dried wood, custom raw steel legs.View in gallery
Focusing on benches and chairs, Glosley creates these using Spray paint, paint pens, polyurethane on kiln dried wood, custom raw steel legs.
Industrial looking legs maintain the grittier feel of the graffiti art top.View in gallery
Industrial looking legs maintain the grittier feel of the graffiti art top.
Intricate and colorful, the tops off the benches are amazing.View in gallery
Intricate and colorful, the tops of the benches are amazing.
The Carl Solway Gallery's very colorful booth at PULSE Miami included these fun stools. Artful and functional, they're also presenting a positive message.View in gallery
The Carl Solway Gallery’s very colorful booth at PULSE Miami included these fun stools. Artful and functional, they’re also presenting a positive message.
In pink too!View in gallery
In pink too!
The iconic dotted creations of avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama were sprinkled throughout Art Basel and the other shows. This stool is just perfect.View in gallery
The iconic dotted creations of avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama were sprinkled throughout Art Basel and the other shows. This stool is just a perfect piece of unique furniture.
Few armchairs were to be found among the art furniture, but this piece has a regal feel, a bit like a throne.View in gallery
Few armchairs were to be found among the art furniture, but this piece has a regal feel, a bit like a throne.
The intricately cut metal highlights the blue underlay which almost seems to glow under the bright lights.View in gallery
The intricately cut metal highlights the blue underlay which almost seems to glow under the bright lights.
The “Hand-Chair” is the best known work of Pedro Friedenberg, an Italian-born, Mexican artist and designer. He is known for his surrealist works.View in gallery
The “Hand-Chair” is the best known work of Pedro Friedenberg, an Italian-born, Mexican artist and designer. He is recognized for his surrealist works.
Because it's all art, there was plenty of whimsy to be found. Sitting on a lobster or a paintbrush is just plain fun.View in gallery
Because it’s all art, there was plenty of whimsy to be found. Sitting on a lobster or a paintbrush is just plain fun.
Scissors too. In the background you can see another piece showing the artist's imagination -- the saw in a cactus sculpture.View in gallery
Scissors too! In the background you can see another piece showing the artist’s imagination — the saw in a cactus sculpture.
Another view of the funky seating with the accompanying wall decor.View in gallery
Another view of the funky seating with the accompanying wall decor.
Stools were a popular canvas for art. We particularly like these two from the Dean Project in Miami. The abstract design and pastel colors feel tropical.View in gallery
Stools were a popular canvas for art. We particularly like these two from the Dean Project in Miami. The abstract design and pastel colors feel tropical.
This two-piece design was one we haven't encountered before. More a functional piece than an exhibited piece, we saw many gallery representatives actually using their art seating pieces.View in gallery
This two-piece design was one we haven’t encountered before. More a functional piece than an exhibited piece, we saw many gallery representatives actually using their art seating pieces.
Seating made of rustic wood or benched are nothing new but this curved bench is something new. Artist JaeHyo Lee is known for using everyday materials and circular motifs.View in gallery
Seating made of rustic wood are nothing new but this curved bench is definitely something new. Artist JaeHyo Lee is known for using everyday materials and circular motifs, particularly for unique furniture pieces.
From all angles, the wood shows interesting grains and rings.View in gallery
From all angles, the wood shows interesting grains and rings.
This dual-sided seat is particularly interesting thanks to the undulating curve of the back rest.View in gallery
This dual-sided seat is particularly interesting thanks to the undulating curve of the back rest.

On the flip side, some artists used separate parts of furniture as the medium. Artist Marc Andre Robinson from Brooklyn showed his creations from furniture.  “Playing with the dialogue between art and artifact, he collects discarded furniture and transforms it into sculptural assemblages with complex and delicately balanced symbology,” says his bio.

Discarded legs of various styles were used to create this sculpture.View in gallery
Discarded legs of various styles were used to create this sculpture.
Robinson's giant sculpture of reclaimed furniture is reminiscent of a giant crab.View in gallery
Robinson’s giant sculpture of reclaimed furniture is reminiscent of a giant crab.
Spanish-born Manolo Valdés is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker. This bookcase is filled with slices of wood standing in for the usual book collection.View in gallery
Spanish-born Manolo Valdés is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker. This bookcase is filled with slices of wood standing in for the usual book collection.
Like stacks of books on a table, wood pieces are piled on a side table.View in gallery
Like stacks of books on a table, wood pieces are piled on a side table.
Another example of furniture as an art medium is this unexpected wall sculpture using seating shown by the Zero Gallery.View in gallery
Another example of furniture as an art medium is this unexpected wall sculpture using seating shown by the Zero Gallery.

After chairs, tables were also a popular form of unique furniture expression.

Dutch gallery Preiveekollectie showed this "BANG" table created by Reinier Bosch. The gallery says that the famous pop-art paintings of Lichtenstein were used as for the piece.View in gallery
Dutch gallery Preiveekollectie showed this “BANG” table created by Reinier Bosch. The gallery says that the famous pop-art paintings of Lichtenstein were used as inspiration  for the piece.
Much like the related chair in silver, this copper table's gleam only enhances the blue underlay.View in gallery
Much like the related chair in silver, this copper table’s gleam only enhances the blue underlay.
An intricate design and precise cuts make it a special piece.View in gallery
An intricate design and precise cuts make it a special piece.
From a distance, this looks like a plain plywood table, but as you approach, it reveals a wonderful surprise.View in gallery
From a distance, this looks like a plain plywood table, but as you approach, it reveals a wonderful surprise.
Inside the table is an intricate modern architecture, giving you the feeling that you are spying into a fantastic villa.View in gallery
Inside the table is an intricate modern architecture, giving you the feeling that you are spying into a fantastic villa.
Interior lighting enhances the fine miniature work.View in gallery
Interior lighting enhances the fine miniature work inside this piece of unique furniture.
It might be a miniature, but Yayoi Kusama's shelf with a pumpkin is cute and whimsical.View in gallery
It might be a miniature, but Yayoi Kusama’s shelf with a pumpkin is cute and whimsical.

At any furniture fair, many of the light fixtures are true art forms, so we weren’t surprised to see modern lighting  creations among the art displays.

These intricately cut pendant lights shown by Neuger-nemschneider Gallery remind us of exotic lanterns.View in gallery
These intricately cut pendant lights shown by Neuger-nemschneider Gallery remind us of exotic lanterns.
The detail is stunning and we can imagine they cast some amazing shadows.View in gallery
The detail is stunning and we can imagine they cast some amazing shadows.
The combination of colors and neutrals make the art fixture easy to blend with many types of home decor.View in gallery
The combination of colors and neutrals make the art fixture easy to blend with many types of home decor.
The base from which the pendants hang is just as intricate as the lights themselves.View in gallery
The base from which the pendants hang is just as intricate as the lights themselves.
German artist Tobias Rehberger created this light sculpture using wax. He is known for his diverse and prolific body of work including objects, sculptures and environments.View in gallery
German artist Tobias Rehberger created this light sculpture using wax. He is known for his diverse and prolific body of work including objects, sculptures and environments.
Colored bar of lights are both art installation and mood lighting.View in gallery
Colored bars of lights are both art installation and mood lighting.
If you have the space for it, this giant light pendant would be a most awesome statement. Large and imposting, yet geometrically intricate and weightless looking, we couldn't get enough of it.View in gallery
If you have the space for it, this giant light pendant would be a most awesome statement. Large and imposing, yet geometrically intricate and weightless looking, we couldn’t get enough of it.
Even the large tree installation is dwarfed by the large light.View in gallery
Even the large tree installation is dwarfed by the large light.

Room dividers are another item that does double duty as art and home design feature.  Some were painted, some were 3-D carved and other were lighting installations.

These colorful, yet dark in imagery, light screens would definitely generate conversation.View in gallery
These colorful, yet dark in imagery, light screens would definitely generate conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Artist John McAllister create this painted screen, shown by the James Fuentes Gallery.View in gallery
American Artist John McAllister create this painted screen, shown by the James Fuentes Gallery.
Detail from McAllister's screen that is part of his "serene raving radiant" show.View in gallery
Detail from McAllister’s screen that is part of his “serene raving radiant” show.
The back of the screen -- called a byobu in Japanese - is equally interesting. "His palette dominated by tones of rose, peach and deep violet and McAllister’s compositions detail phosphorescent landscapes and luminous interiors," write the gallery.View in gallery
The back of the screen — called a byobu in Japanese – is equally interesting. “His palette dominated by tones of rose, peach and deep violet and McAllister’s compositions detail phosphorescent landscapes and luminous interiors,” write the gallery.
Even a door can be artful, as seen in this work from the Galerie Thomas Schultz in Germany.View in gallery
Even a door can be artful, as seen in this work from the Galerie Thomas Schultz in Germany.
Deliberately arranged furniture also serves as an art installation.View in gallery
Deliberately arranged furniture also serves as an art installation.
He may be best known for his giant, metallic balloon animal sculptures, but Jeff Koons has also done many smaller pieces, like this mirror.View in gallery
He may be best known for his giant, metallic balloon animal sculptures, but Jeff Koons has also created many smaller pieces, like this mirror.
This installation from the Franco Noereo Gallery in Torino, Italy includes a beautiful rug. We love how artful rugs are, whether you place them on the floor or on the wall.View in gallery
This installation from the Franco Noereo Gallery in Torino, Italy includes a beautiful rug. We love how artful rugs are, whether you place them on the floor or on the wall.
While this is an unusual art installation, we just want to sit on the piece that is adorned with a title-shell like design.View in gallery
While this is an unusual art installation, we just want to sit on the piece that is adorned with a turtle-shell like design.
Suitable only for a very large space, this installation featured a beautifully set dining table that upon closer examination was split down the middle. A social commentary perhaps?View in gallery
Suitable only for a very large space, this installation featured a beautifully set dining table that upon closer examination was split down the middle. A social commentary perhaps?

While we didn’t see much outdoor-specific furniture at the shows, the Botanical Gardens across the street from Art Basel and Design Miami/ were outfitted with stylish and comfortable pieces.  We’re not sure if this furniture is always there, or if it was brought in for a press event sponsored by BMW, but these are some of the same pieces we saw at the 4141 Design gallery in the Miami Design District earlier in the year.

Artful weaving give the seats and table an optic geometric design.View in gallery
Artful weaving give the seats and table an optic geometric design.
The shape of the chair is unique. The arms feel a bit like a butterfly.View in gallery
The shape of the chair is unique. The arms feel a bit like a butterfly.
Comfy and throne-like, these are fun to sit in.View in gallery
Comfy and throne-like, these are fun to sit in.
Speaking of geometrics, we were fascinated by this wall by German artist Rose Marie Trockel, who is an important figure in international contemporary art.View in gallery
Speaking of geometrics, we were fascinated by this wall by German artist Rose Marie Trockel, who is an important figure in international contemporary art.

Art and design extravaganzas like Miami’s art week have something to entice you, no matter what your definition of art is. Whether form comes first or function takes precedence, pieces can be viewed as art or as unique furniture, depending upon your own sensibilities.