See Highlights from Design Miami/ 2023
Discover what stood out at booths by Gallery Fumi, Maison Gerard, Friedman Benda, Les Ateliers Courbet, Todd Merrill, and more
Collectible design galleries have had a whirlwind few weeks, moving from PAD London to Salon Art + Design in New York to Design Miami/. But with each event, there have been great new pieces from both longstanding and emerging talents on display. Design Miami/ brought together 57 galleries from around the globe, each curating installations that celebrated this year’s theme, “Where We Stand, Reflections on Place and Purpose,” conceived by curatorial director Anna Carnick.
At the entrance, Galerie Creative Mind Lara Bohinc installed a selection of pieces from her new Utopia series, which consisted of brightly colored biomorphic benches, stools, and even birdhouses made from sustainable cork. The playful and interactive works were crafted to encourage communal gathering for both people and wildlife.
Inside, artists created experiential displays where visitors were invited to interact with the works. Marina Abramovic’s “Chair for Hunan Use with Chair for Spirit Use” drew clusters waiting for a turn to sit on rigid high-back wood chairs under a crown of crystals, while Creative Mind Harry Nuriev‘s “Transformism” sofa in a glaring white space was a major selfie spot.
The “Pollination Dance” installation by Fernando Laposse, sponsored by Maison Perrier-Jouët, offered a serene oasis in the sea of activity, while Samuel Ross’s cherry-red pieces for Kohler caught everyone’s attention and the Ginori 1735 Reborn Project drew praise for its dreamy selection of limited-edition tableware by ten creative talents like Cathy Vedovi, Vincent Darré, Jacques Grange, Charles Zana, and India Mahdavi.
Below are several of the highlights on display in the gallery booths throughout Design Miami/.
1. Gallery Fumi
The Best Booth winner at this year’s edition, Gallery Fumi brought a vast textural wall work by Rowan Mersh, a trio of stunning Armadillo pieces by Lukas Wegwerth coated in capsule-shaped wood shingles tinted in raspberry hues, and Jeremy Anderson’s debut lighting collection, an eye-catching evolution of his earlier Piccolo ceramics.
2. Maison Gerard
The New York gallery curated a collection of works by female artisans for their robust display. Popular pieces included Emma Donnersberg’s mushroom tables, a weighty new bronze lighting sculpture by Creative Mind Niamh Barry, a pair of mesmerizing marquetry cabinets by Jean-Luc Le Mounier, and an absolutely beautiful circular table by Laura Kirar. Combined with the weblike table by Ayala Serfaty, her first in a series of new bronze works, pillowy-looking fiber-art pieces also by Serfaty, and a substantial Nancy Lorenz screen, it was a booth worth visiting again and again.
3. R & Company
Everyone who walked by R & Company’s booth commented on the expansive circa-1961 Joaquim Tenreiro dining table, its milky blue top drawing visual and sensory parallels to the Miami water. The palette complemented an opalescent new light fixture by Jeff Zimmerman, who also created a collection of sinuous “Crumpled” metallic vessels made of glass. In addition, the space hosted a wonderland of textural artworks, including pieces by Katie Stout, Roberto Lugo, and Norman Teague—the latter producing exaggerated basket shapes that repurposed plastic into an almost unrecognizable new material.
4. Les Ateliers Courbet
The gallery’s booth, dubbed Primal Nature, practically glowed with its moody elegance. Anchoring the installation was a massive Wabi Sabi bed by Ethan Stebbins, pieces in both wood and bronze from Mauro Mori, and an ethereal ginkgo chandelier by Veronica Mar. The presentation also marked the exhibition debut of two new Les Ateliers Courbet artists—Mexican multidisciplinary artist Héctor Esrawe, who created a honeycomb inspired bronze sculpture that punctuated a corner of the booth, and Philippe Anthonioz, who early in his career worked side by side with Diego Giacometti in the master artisan’s studio.
5. Wexler Gallery
Wexler Gallery displayed a selection of Malene Barnett‘s Yabbas vessels as well as her new wall installation of terracotta tiles, Memories of Home. Also on view were new works by Jomo Tariku, including the artist’s first examples in bronze as well as his first large-scale creation, a massive Zagwe cabinet that takes its visual cues from a northern Ethiopian architectural style. Punctuating the space was a selection of arresting lighting pieces by Feyza Kemahlioglu, a Turkish artist who combines blown-glass orbs with intricately carved clay forms that diffuse the light to spectacular effect.
6. Todd Merrill Studio
A riotous collection of colors greeted visitors to Todd Merrill Studio’s booth, which featured an array of new pieces by new talents on the roster. Hard to overlook was Yunhwan Kim’s free-form dining table, comprised of an interlocking surface of lily pad–like shapes set on a base of bulbous wood forms. The visually stimulating vignette also included one of Dominick Leuci’s branching metallic lighting sculptures, a powerful fiber art work by Tjitske Storm, a large-scale installation of ceramics by Molly Hatch, and a striking credenza in a cobalt blue so rich it almost reverberated; the piece was by architect and designer George Ranalli, who made his debut with the gallery at the fair.
7. Friedman Benda
Almost every design enthusiast attending the show stopped by the Friedman Benda stand for a look at the intoxicating Creek chair by Frida Escobedo, its long strings of tiny nickel balls pooling over a steel chair frame. The limited-edition work stood as a magical contrast to the sturdy Wendell Castle bench nearby, its cantilevered design ever more impressive when viewed from the back. Other monolithic forms by Faye Toogood, Thaddeus Wolfe, and Raphael Navot were balanced by a selection of playful Misha Kahn pieces and a dazzling light fixture by Creative Mind Ini Archibong.
8. The Future Perfect
In celebration of the gallery’s 20th anniversary, The Future Perfect brought a large selection of works by their roster of talents, construction a high-shine cabinet of curiosities that held nearly 130 works including ceramics by Jane Yang D’Haene, Reinaldo Sanguino artworks, and whimsical assemblages by Autumn Casey. The shelves enveloped a quartet of new works by Karl Zahn, who reminisced about his early days studying painting, pointing out the layers of seasonal colors that connect to the title of each: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Also on view was a stunning new desk by Chris Wolston, its gilded web of vines juxtaposed against a pair of earlier terracotta chairs by the artist, their shape a more muscular tangle of tropical blooms.
9. Southern Guild
Continuing to build excitement around Southern Guild’s upcoming Los Angeles outpost, the South African gallery brought a selection of works from 11 of its talents, including Zizipho Poswa—whose solo show will open the California space in February 2024—Porky Hefer, and Creative Mind Andile Dyalvane, who was a consistent presence in the artful installation. Two works by Hefer, John and Yoko, made specifically for Design Miami/, offer a tantalizing look at what may come when the artist mounts a solo show at Galerie56 in May.
10. Twenty First Gallery
It was hard to walk past the Twenty First Gallery booth and not get drawn into the enveloping Mattia Bonetti chairs and the colorful Erwan Boulloud cabinet and mirror, but the space got better the longer you lingered. A darling trio of Alice Gavalet’s glazed ceramic lamps were perfectly placed alongside a Rolland Mellan mirror, its kaleidoscopic pattern discovered on closer inspection. The same goes for the elegant Marcin Rusak table, its garden of botanicals floating in a haunting sea of black resin. An easily overlooked but delightful discovery here was the Nathalie Ziegler Scarabée chandelier overhead, its myriad jagged glass petals in mermaid like blues and greens a jewel for anyone who took the time to just look up.