Some of the best-known designers from across the globe gathered in Miami the first week of December for Design Miami, a celebration of artful design for the home. Running concurrently with the massive Art Basel show, Design Miami is a visual delight in many ways. From the sponsoring brands that create immersive displays to the galleries presenting cutting-edge designs the array of creative works is breathtaking.
Homedit was camped out in Miami for the entire week of events celebrating art and design to bring you the coolest things we could find. We picked 20 of our favorites from Design Miami, but it was a tough choice!
Todd Merrill Studio
This is the stunning Paillon Cabinet by artist Jean Luc Le Mounier. Curved Butterly wings crafted from black straw marquetry are affixed on a cabinet of golden straw marquetry. Swing them open and it reveals a second set of butterfly-shaped doors, this time a grid of lacy bronze. These also open to reveal two shelves and a hidden compartment, which was common in the early decades of the 1900s. Exacting craftsmanship and the unexpected shape and elements make this a one-of-a-kind rarity.
Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades
Launched in 2012, Objets Nomades is a collection of items that pay homage to the company’s long-standing history of leather design and travel. With pieces unveiled every year, each one is a collaboration with a special designer who creates a work that is his or her interpretation of travel. In also includes Les Petits Nomades, a line of decor objects.
Two distinctive pieces presented this year are the Anemona Table by Atelier Biagetti of Milan and the Ribbon Dance seat by Andre Fu of AFSO, a highly acclaimed Hong Kong design studio. The base of the Anemona table is fashioned from genuine leather that has been finished with a blue lacquer interior. The rippling shape of the base is inspired by the seaside heritage of Italy and the hometowns of the studio principals.
The Ribbon Dance is a sinuous double seat that is upholstered in a bold new color and framed by a leather-covered frame that elegantly wraps around both cushions on a single base. The stylish curve creates a silhouette that is immediately appealing. Designed to encourage people to engage in conversation, the seats are connected by the Mobius strip that supports them and creates an enveloping feeling, even though the lines are minimal.
It’s amazing how a piece created in homage to a folkloric monster can be so beautiful. Called the Pankalangu Credenza, the surface is comprised of curved copper and walnut veneer scallops that are exactingly attached to the main structure. The copper is meant to evoke the invisible monster’s body, which became visible only when it was hiding in the bush during a rain. This piece is a collaboration between Trent Jansen and Broached Commissions studio.
Cristina Grajales Gallery
Unexpected texture and color help make this sofa by Sang Hoon Kim a big draw. While it might look like a rigid bench, it’s actually made from memory foam which he melts, tints and paints with. Kim’s Pollack-style finish is done over a more rigid interior support. Kim’s family owned a foam manufacturing company where he was exposed to the material and its varied properties. A highly tactile piece, the sofa is a modern and very expressive piece of furniture.
Sarah Myerscough Gallery
Stunning and sinuous wood furnishings are frequently exhibited by the Myerscough Gallery and this year’s Design Miami was no exception. This trio of pieces is the Dommus Suite by the Joseph Walsh Studio. Walsh is a designer who crafts his one-of-a-kind pieces in County Cork, Ireland. Made from ash, the bleached finish enhances their ethereal mood. The curving lines are clean yet complex and the tufting of the sofa seat echoes the rounded nature of the silhouette.
The Kasmin Gallery presented works by Mattia Bonetti that had not ever been exhibited before. A stunning velvet chair and ottoman, part of the booth that is a single unified installation, feature frames that were designed as a single line. The squiggling line snakes around the seat in a fluid, elegant fashion. In addition, the shine of the gold is an excellent complement to the rich, textural velvet.
R & Company
Designer Katie Stout has transformed her very popular lamp figures into near-life-size version floor lamps that are just as colorful and whimsical. The lamps are a tribute to women and their support of one another. With gilded erogenous zones and brightly colored bodies, they are a very diverse group. Need to turn on the light? Twist a nipple.
Designers Sabine Marcelis and Guillermo Santoma collaborated on pieces for Etage Projects, including this wall light. The mixed materials are highlighted by the neon rods that come through the curved from piece, that somewhat resembles an artist’s palette. Both the designers spent a summer at 13th-century palazzo near the Italian Alps, organized by Étage Projects founder Maria Foerlev. Whether or not the result of the summer was this cutting-edge design, it is a magnificent mixed-media light.
Functional Art Gallery
Plastic is the material of choice for Theophile Blandet because he believes that this material, as we know it today, will cease to exist in the future because of environmental considerations. Blandet creates pieces that celebrate its future status as a rare material. Known for his work in digital mining and oil painting, he uses different types of plastic to achieve the textures and opacities in each piece.
Harry Nuriev’s exhibition is called The Office, which expresses connected ideas between fashion, design, and art. Inspired by the Balenciaga SS19 fashion show and the small windowless office in Russia where he worked as an intern, Nuriev dreamed up his imaginary world. Each piece of office furniture has been transformed into a work of art and represents something: For example, this Balenciaga chair is meant to represent creativity and a place to spend time, sometimes miserably.
Physically massive yet not imposing, the Gaya table by Israeli architect and designer Gal Gaon celebrates the beauty of wood. The position of the grain and the colors in this custom piece emphasize the differences in the materials. Gaon’s work is a little edgy but still exudes a warmth not always found in modern pieces of such a large scale. He designs and creates all his works in Israel.
Jason Jaques Gallery
A bit rococo, a bit gothic, works by Japanese Katsuto Aoki stun with their intricacy and sedate color palette of blue and white. Aoki is known for works like this Trolldom Oracle II, crafted from glazed porcelain. The relief style of the frame is a three-dimensional echo of the intricate image in the center of this larger piece, which is about 18 x 24 inches. Her subjects for the trippy pieces are mainly include parts of animals and skulls.
John Keith Russell
At the vintage end of the spectrum, John Keith Russell antiques presented impeccable pieces of Shaker design, including these boxes. The gallery, which focuses on items produced in the US before 1860, presents the pieces in original condition. The original minimalists, Shakers believed in well-made pieces that were simple, functional and honest. Shaker style designs have endured thanks to these principles and take on special meaning in today’s world of trends and belongings that are disposed of quickly.
One of the intriguing pieces in the Mameluca studio booth was this Symbiotic Sideboard. Made from cedar and stainless steel, each wood piece can be shifted to adjust its position. Changing the wooden posts allows the table to adapt to various needs and desires. In fact, the wood pieces can be removed from one slot and inserted in another. The sideboard can be a simple, rectangular piece for functional purposes, an artful arrangement of jaggedly arranged pieces, or a solid facade of wood.
A trompe l’oeil cabinet by John Cederquist drew our attention because of its visual trickery. While the piece appears to be fully three dimensional, it is triangular and the facade is completely flat. The Cajon de los Muertos Cabinet is made from Baltic birch plywood, wood veneers, epoxy resin inlay, and lithographic Ink. The cabinet is a definite conversation starter not just for the optical illusion, but its design as a ragtag pile of old crates.
It wouldn’t be Design Miami without a piece from South African artist Porky Hefer. Known for his hanging nest seats, many of animal shapes, Hefer always presents eye-catching designs. This is one of Hefer’s two Mud Dauber Sleeping Pods, made from kooboo cane and leather, both local materials. All of his works make you want to crawl inside and snooze away.
R and Company
This stunning cabinet not only has a faceted, mirrored front, but also a multi-dimensional interior. Inside the cabinet, more beveled mirror panels create a never-ending landscape of angles and shine. While it is a storage cabinet, we’d be tempted to leave it open all the time just to gaze inside!
Spanish designer Guillermo Santoma’s creation is an exploration of materials and their limitations. He uses sheepskins, furs and glass to “deconstruct the fixed images of design. The all-white layout is more of an ethereal roomscape that literally begs you to come and luxuriate in the plush material.
Vintage or modern, the works found at Design Miami were definitely distinctive — whether they were more an artistic expression or functional item. The entire show is a glimpse into the best of creativity on a global scale, celebrating life and all the things that can make a home beautiful.