December 3, 2013

Design Miami/ Gets Underway


Design Miami/ 2013 is set to open! Today, the press get a preview of the annual December art fair taking place in Miami, Florida (a sister show takes place in Basel, Switzerland each June), where collectible art and design is on view from some of the world’s top galleries. Tomorrow, the furniture, lighting and objets d’art will be open to the design-loving public. This year’s fair is the largest yet, and features participants from 10 different countries, including first time exhibitors from Russia and Lebanon.

Since 2008, the pavilion has been one of the signature features of Design Miami/. For each December’s event, the show commissions early-career architects to design and build a structure that acts as an art installation and entrance to the fair. For 2013, New York City’s Formlessfinder designed Tent Pile, illustrations above, a pavilion that will offer shade, seating, fans to move air, and a place to play for the fair’s 50,000 attendees, as well as the city’s South Beach inhabitants. For the structure, Formlessfinder’s co-founders Julian Rose and Garrett Ricciardi looked to the materials and styles common to the city. The pair landed on sand (from the famous Florida beaches) and a cantilevered roof (borrowed from Miami’s post-war modernism architecture). The final pavilion design uses a pyramid of loose sand with a large aluminum roof seemingly balanced at its peak.  Aluminum benches offer seating, but the designers hope people will also play in the sand and enjoy the fan-cooled air. “We’re hoping to create something that people would want to participate in,” says Ricciardi.

This year will be the first in quite some time that we will not be participating as attendees at Design Miami/. But the 2013 show promises some very interesting designs focused on the juxtaposition of today’s technology and yesterday’s mechanics so we reached out to show organizers so we could put a few of the light-focused pieces on your radar in case you are attending.

“Grandfather Clock Corten,” Maarten Baas, Corten Steel, Digital Equipment, 2013. Photo courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

One such study of past and present includes Grandfather Clock by Maarten Baas, above. Known for his clock designs, this creation by Baas features video of an actual person—a grandfather figure—drawing the hands of the clock as time passes. The video art piece is an amazing way to look at keeping time, using both new and old machinery. He debuted an IRL version of it with a live person keeping time in 2009 when he was awarded the title of Designer of the Year. Incredible!

“Meadow,” Astrid Krogh, Optic fibers, metal, light monitors, 2013. Photo courtesy of Torben Eskerod

One of Scandinavia’s leading designers, Astrid Krogh brings new ideas, technologies and materials to the Scandinavian tradition of excellent craftsmanship. Her work has roots in textile design, but she brings to it the play of light and shadow, incorporating both natural and artificial light. In her work Meadow, above, optic fibers illuminate a canvas-like background in a rainbow of hues, resulting in a glowing art piece that appears warm, welcoming and tactile, much like a piece of textile-based art. We want to wrap up in it!

Study of Time, a 2011 work by rAndom International makes its US debut at Design Miami/ 2013. The work is based on the group’s recent creation of scenography for a contemporary dance piece, and uses LED lights and shadow to mark the passage of time, much like a digital-display clock integrated into a light show. Watch the video above and be amazed at this melding of light and technology!

“Collection of Light,” HUMANS SINCE 1982, wood, glass & LED lights, 2012.

Finally, a work after our own hearts, Collection of Light by Humans Since 1982 is literally a collection of lights—LED bulbs to be exact. The artists display a variety of LEDs in a specific arrangement, each bulb labeled with name, size, and color temperature. The collection recalls one of the natural curiosities seen in a biologist’s lab, such as butterflies or insects. The bulbs are not only on display; they illuminate to turn the art piece into a lamp. Brilliant!

Please let us know your thoughts on Design Miami/ 2013: we’d love to know if this year’s show is as fabulous as years past. We’re definitely going to miss the avant-garde atmosphere!

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