Back to Basel, despite Wolfe diss
Last year the Art Basel VIPs found author Tom Wolfe among the crowd, researching a new book. Back to Blood is now out, and it doesn’t portray the Basel VIP crowd in a very cheery light. “Maggots” was his choice of description.
A few showgoers this year mentioned the book; others seemed to be sporting the Tom Wolfe signature look, dressing in all-white suits.
No relation, said Miami developer and collector Craig Robins, wearing a smart white suit, no tie. “What’s the Tom Wolfe effect?’” he said. “I do read a lot, but I don’t read Tom Wolfe.”
Fair director Marc Spiegler, a former journalist, dodged the matter, saying “I gave up literary criticism.’” Said Miami collector Norman Braman, chairman of the Miami Beach host committee, of Wolfe’s depiction” “It’s a cheap shot. Look at the quality of the people here.”
Wherever you are in the world, the sun is same.
“It’s yours,” said award-winning British architect Asif Khan, whose immersive installation is stealing the show at Design Miami/.
Khan collaborated with Swarovski Crystal Palace on “Parhelia,” which means “beside the sun” in Greek.
Inspired by ice halos that grace the northern regions of the world, Khan carefully placed 1.4 million Swarovski crystals in honeycomb holders amid multiple panels to emulate the phenomenon.
The oversized structure resembles a home and is situated in its own room about 100 yards from the fair’s entrance.
“The house form is how we draw houses as children. I wanted to awaken something inside of us and remind people of a comfortable environment,” said Khan.
At 20-feet high, the edifice is striking, but manages to be welcoming and warm despite its minimalistic properties and white space. Fifty percent of the crystals are of the “aurora borealis” genus (originally developed in the 1950s with Christian Dior).
Khan suggests starting on the north side to see the perfect circle of light, then encourages you to walk around to the right to see how the halo follows you and changes, at some points into smaller circles and at others into simple lines.
“You can never stare at a fire for too long, right?” asked Khan as he put his nose up to the structure and smiled.
The real “aha moment” comes when you crouch down to walk “inside” the structure. Immediately, you find yourself sheltered in a glistening room lit by two circular holes – one in the ceiling of the structure and the other in the roof of the Design Miami/ tent (think Pantheon in Rome), giving you a view of the ever-changing Miami sky.
Inside, you’ll also notice that there is a singular LED light bulb, which is what creates the giant halo or “artificial sun” that’s visible from the exterior.
“I want people to enjoy the stillness here and the passing of time,” said Khan. “The Miami sky is so unique and this is an unexpected place for you to have your moment with it.”
This is the Swarovski Crystal Palace’s seventh consecutive exhibition at Design Miami/, following installations by luminaries like Ross Lovegrove, Greg Lynn, Fredrikson Stallard, Eyal Burstein, and Erwin Redl.