Ahead of Its Time

Year after year, Design Miami sets the precedent for international innovations in architecture and design

Every year for the past five years, the art world has set its watch by Design Miami’s global forum for the best in design. For its sixth edition, Design Miami relocated to Miami Beach, adjacent to Art Basel. The result was an even deeper communion between the art world, the design world and collectors and followers. Under this year’s innovative tent structure, designed by Moorhead & Moorhead Studio, the international design community gathered to honor Konstantin Grcic as Designer of the Year. His hammock-like installation at the entrance, “Netscape,” was an interactive vehicle for visitors and a complement to the studio’s tent design. For Las Vegans, it is important to look toward Design Miami as an indicator of all that will be hip and cool in the year to come. Throw out a few of these names for some great cocktail conversation.

“Phantom”: a limited-edition table by GRAFT for stilwerk

Representatives of GRAFT Architects from Berlin say they are interested in “playing with an enhanced and amorphous vocabulary of shapes.” And so GRAFT designers created the “Phantom” table, a nine-piece glass-fiber structure, in order to ask the question, “What constitutes the perfect table for you?” With the table, they also answer the question with the adage: A table’s existence is validated by its occupants, not its materialism. When the designers were asked “How did the idea for a table emerge?” they explained that “A table essentially symbolizes our being together.”

Zaha Hadid, “Console de Rangement”

This unique fiberglass composition, presented by Perimeter Art and Design, Paris, displays the investigative tendencies of designer Zaha Hadid. Her visual tradition, mostly based on the study of curves and their complexity, can be seen in the design for this storage console. Hadid, the first female architect to be awarded the Pritzker Prize (in 2004), is known for taking the ordinary into the realm of the extraordinary.

Renate Müller TOYS+DESIGN, presented by New York’s R Gallery

For more than 40 years, Müller has been designing and hand-making a series of jute and leather toys, primarily animals, in the same tradition taught by toymakers in Germany since the 1800s. These toys are both fun and functional. They debuted at the Leipzig Trade Fair in 1967 and continued annually. Each year Müller adds animals and objects to the collection. In 1990, she took over the rights to her designs and today continues to hand-produce very limited quantities of new and classic styles.

Carpenters Workshop presents Random International’s “Swarm”

“Swarm” is an experimental and interactive light installation with a real, collective consciousness that subtly reacts to the viewer’s audible presence. It is comprised of 9,000 LEDs, polished brass rods, 3,000 custom circuit boards, custom driver software and hardware, a behavioral algorithm, sound sensors, computer and interface. But don’t let its complicated construction deter you from witnessing its beauty. These 3-D grids of lights react to embedded microphones that pick up nearby sounds. The result is a “swarm” of light guided by the influence of the viewer.

Dimitri Vangrunderbeek’s “Folded Figures”

The artist, in collaboration with D&A Lab, has produced a cabinet made from thin sheets of steel. Atop the cabinet are cutout silhouettes of men that cast shadows over its surface. The cutouts, which are placed in various directions, create the effect of motion using their shapes and the variations of their shadows. The designers used a special technique to craft these little forms from the thin steel sleeves.

David Bielander, “Hot Dog” Jewelry

Swiss-born Bielander completed his goldsmith’s apprenticeship in Basel, Switzerland. He studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts before establishing his own studio and workshop in Munich, where he still resides. His jewelry is a perfect balance of creativity and humor.

Troika’s “Falling Light,” presented by Swarovski Crystal Palace

An intense and beautiful sensory experience like no other you have witnessed, “Falling Light” projects LED light through custom-cut Swarovski crystals onto the gallery floor. The central idea of this exhibit by the London-based-trio Troika is that “science does not destroy, but rather discovers poetry in the patterns of nature.” “Falling Light” presents a cinematographic interplay between crystal prisms and the preternatural experience.