Art Basel

Art Basel Week 2015 guide: Design Miami/

The Swarovski exhibit is always a highlight of Design Miami/. This year’s experience is an interactive display of crystals and geodesic shapes.
The Swarovski exhibit is always a highlight of Design Miami/. This year’s experience is an interactive display of crystals and geodesic shapes.

Exquisitely executed forms with function are the essence of Design Miami/, the fair that combines furniture, jewelry and other objects with discussions about this increasingly popular art form. The design commission for the entrance pavilion to this 11th edition Design Miami/ tent went to students of the Harvard Graduate School of Design for a series of 3D models entitled UNBUILT, a homage to architectural designs that have never been realized.

Inside, galleries will include exhibitions of historic homage, including a recreation of Gio Ponti’s design for Villa Panchart in Caracas at Galleria Rossella Colombari. Other highlights will include a table given to French designer Jean Prouvé in 1943 by fellow designer Pierre Jeanneret at Laffanour-Galerie Downtown, plus the only remaining example of Prouvé’s 1939 military hut at Galerie Patrick Seguin. Yves Behar will be celebrated as Design Visionary of the Year. The always-stunning Swarovski exhibit this year is designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero, and incorporates 2,800 crystals in a geodesign installation.

Fairgoers will also want to keep an eye out for work by three standout designers who are internationally acclaimed yet fairly new to the U.S. market:

Joep van Lieshout of Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) jumped into design at the Rotterdam Academy of the Arts at age 16. Today, his provocative sculptures are on view in outdoor spaces across Europe, from Paris to Malmö, Sweden, while his smaller pieces are showcased in almost a dozen museums. Each work is executed with his studio, AVL, where he has worked for 20 years. To Architectural Digest, Lieshout described the furniture line coming to this year’s Design Miami/ as “nouveau brutalism.”

Nacho Carbonell sees the objects he makes as living organisms. The Spanish designer, who was named Designer of the Future in 2009 at Design Miami/ in Basel, Switzerland, recently closed a highly lauded show at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London. Wallpaper magazine labeled the light sculptures from “Cocoon,” his ongoing series, as “other-worldly.” To construct the pieces, he and his Netherlands-based team use steel frame, metal mesh, concrete, rubber and a mix of plaster and paverpol (textile hardener).

Vincent Dubourg breathes life into traditional craftsmanship with a fresh approach to materials and techniques. Using radical methods for glass-blowing, wood-bending and metal-casting, his furniture subverts the status quo with a sense of motion. In 2014, The New York Times International Edition said much of the thrill for Dubourg comes from the tactile pleasure of contorting material. The French designer is known for abandoning purpose or function in favor of poetry.


Design Miami/ includes 36 galleries showcasing 20th and 21st century furniture, lighting and objets d’art. The fair runs Dec. 2-6 in a tented venue at Meridian Avenue and 19th Street in Miami Beach, across from the entrance to the Miami Beach Convention Center. One-day tickets cost $47; combination tickets are available.