June 30, 2017 by Laura Gomez


Important Works of Historic and Contemporary Design at the Twelfth Edition of Design Miami/ Basel 2017
47 leading design galleries from more countries than any past edition exhibited at this year’s fair which welcomed over 28,000 visitors over 7 days. A range of notable works were exhibited by the world’s leading experts on historic and contemporary design.

For 2017, Design Miami/ Basel tapped the visionary mind of notable American fashion designer Thom Browne to curate the Design at Large installation. It was the first time a fashion designer was invited to stage the large-scale entryway exhibition.

Browne exhibited a precise grid of important desks from the last one hundred years, each along with an accompanying lamp and chair. The exhibition, which was compiled with the support of Design Miami/ Basel gallerists, included statement pieces from masters such as Jean Prouvé, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Jeanneret, André Sornay and Ron Arad. The grid of desks faced off with a conceptual installation Browne designed in 2014 for his Fall / Winter 2014 Men’s Runway Show titled Hunters/Animals, which was restaged for this exhibition.

Browne directed an hour-long performance on the opening day of the fair in which 16 local female students from ECAL and FHNW, were cast as students in a silent procession, during which each produced an artwork while seated within the installation.

“I wanted this installation to be in dialogue with the gallery program but to challenge the visitor by repositioning historic furniture as players on a stage. To pay homage to the work in an environment that invites both reverence and reinterpretation. I drew upon the continuum of a single design staple – the desk – as it has moved through time from the beginnings of modern design until today,”
said Thom Browne of the exhibition.

A rare, special commission cabinet by Ettore Sottsass that showcased at Giustini Stagetti/ Galleria O. Roma will soon be lent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its upcoming exhibition of the architect’s work this summer. The cabinet was conceived as the main element for a private apartment in Milan furnished by Ettore Sottsass in the early 1960s called “Casa con la bambina cinese.” The piece was acquired for showing at Design Miami/ Basel 54 years later directly from the Chinese girl herself.

Galerie Eric Philippe featured a rare lamp by the late, influential California architect John Lautner. Originally designed for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sturges residence of 1936, which Lautner assisted his mentor on, only two of these lamps are known to exist today, with the second lamp residing in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Galerie Jacques Lacoste
showcased the Liane Coat Hanger, a one-of-a-kind coat hanger created by Jean Royère in the 1960s as a private commission for Royère’s close friend’s home. This sculptural hanger is an iconic model and an expression of the maturity of his free form and his creative liberty, which characterizes his works during the 60s.

Chamber showcased The Sinking Ship by Studio Job, the first in an edition of two, produced exclusively for Chamber and showcased for the first time outside a museum setting within Design Miami/ Basel.

The contemporary offerings at this edition of Design Miami/ Basel were also well received.

Salon 94 Design featured debut work by Max Lamb that utilized scraps of polystyrene generated during the production of Lamb’s other Poly Furniture projects. As an assemblage of random offcuts, the nature of the scraps dictate the form of each piece and were coated in a metallic thermal spray, then worked to create a lush finish in either bronze, aluminum, or steel. These pieces were presented in conversation with gold jewelry by Lucas Samara.

Gallery ALL presented a debut collection of furniture by China-based MAD Architects.
Cristina Grajales Gallery presented a solo show by prominent Mexican designer, Gloria Cortina.

more in …