December 05, 2010

Design Miami / Miami Design

Greetings from gorgeous South Florida where I have been soaking up the sun and art fairs for the past few days. I will refrain from telling you just how perfect the weather has been here as I know my friends in New York are freezing and Paris is covered in a very rare blanket of snow. Suffice to say, Miami was everything I had hoped for as a pre-Christmas getaway!

I will also refrain from giving you a blow-by-blow description of the multitude of art fairs occurring simultaneously with the big attraction, Art Basel Miami Beach. Let me just say that Art Basel was much more energetic and successful than last year but not as go-go as 2007. Everyone I spoke with seemed very pleased and there were pieces marked sold on every booth. The same could be said for Art Miami, one of the more traditional adjunct fairs, but I must confess that I did not visit any of the more contemporary satellite fairs.

What I did visit for the first time and enjoyed very much was Design Miami, a fair devoted to the art of design and newly re-located from Miami's Design District to the parking lot of the Miami Convention Center that houses Art Basel. Even the tent was spectacular. Designed by the New York architecture firm of Moorhead & Moorhead, an industrial tent was transformed into an airy and intriguing structure by simply but cleverly cutting and folding the vinyl "skin".

Adding to the playful atmosphere was a swing installation by the winner of the Designer of the Year Award, Konstantin Grcic. Every one of his hanging net chairs was occupied by both adults and children happily swinging after a day of art viewing!

Inside the tent were several stands set up by the fair's sponsors. Audi took the opportunity to present its latest model, the Audi Spyder, and while you couldn't take it for a spin, you could enjoy a glass of something bubbly while admiring its sleek lines.

Another sponsor was Veuve Cliquot Champagne who presented daily "Once Upon A Time Bedtime Stories" in an actual bed. They also presented snacks and, of course champagne, but that was only for VIP visitors.

The most magical installation was by another sponsor, Swarovski Crystal, who created "Falling Light" a white room with 50 lights suspended from the ceiling, each with a Swarovski crystal optical lens, that were programmed to spin and turn and release "droplets" of light onto the floor. It was mesmerizing and made even better by a little girl doing an impromptu dance as she skipped and jumped with great intensity from "drop" to disappearing "drop".

There were also several dealers who created very engaging booths. One of them was the tropical forest look at R 20th Century, New York (see above). Paris in the 1930's and 40's came alive on the stand of Galerie Patrick Seguin (see below).

Gallery Seomi, Seoul, presented contemporary Asian design on their stand (see below).

Fascinating objects included this ghostly white marble dining table at stilwerk limited edition, Hamburg, Germany.

And an amusing candelabra at Venice Projects, Venice, Italy.

You can see that my few days in Miami have been a lot of fun and restorative for both body and soul. Tomorrow it's back to the cold of New York...but it's so much easier to face with a suntan!

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