Design Miami opens under big-top tent

12/03/2013 4:21 PM

12/03/2013 5:55 PM

Design Miami — the furniture, lighting and decor arm of Art Basel — opened Tuesday under an enclosed, air-conditioned tent next to the Miami Beach Convention Center.

There, on a parking lot cum gallery, 37 presenters from Paris to Los Angeles are showing modern and contemporary design pieces — many with a Miami feel.

"The Miami theme came together organically," Design Miami director Marianne Goebl told the Herald this week. "Some of the galleries married Miami with their collections."

One such collection is the Swarovski Crystal Palace's Mangue Grove, a striking work of illuminated crystal and reclaimed wood that artist Guilherme Torres sourced from Brazil and Miami.

There also is a splash of Miami's car culture on display. Two sporty Audi models idle under bright lights in the tent. Servers pass Champagne as a worker dutifully wipes handprints off the red paint of

an R8 with a V-10 engine, 525 horsepower and no price listed.

“I own 15 cars, so I know a little about engines,” one man bragged to an Audi rep.

Circuit boards, computer chips and an endless array of wires form the living room furniture designed by Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, on display from the Industry Gallery of Los Angeles and Washington. It's

modern but also a throwback to the more-wired '80s (remember the clear-plastic phones that revealed their wiring?), and Caldwell's techy couch is surprisingly comfortable.

Now in its ninth year — and its third in Miami Beach — Design Miami is open through Sunday. Miami chef Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine Food & Drink) is operating a cafe inside the tent, with pastries,

farro salads, Florida stone crabs and more.

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