The 17th edition of Design Miami/ was populated by 40 exhibitions that featured the works of diverse designers and design studios, engaging talk series, and interesting collaborations. The festival, well-known for connecting designers, studios, galleries, brands and curators from across the globe and showcasing unique and extraordinary installations and collectables at live fairs situated on four continents, is also made available for viewing on Design Miami’s official website throughout the year, with the objects displayed during the festival up for sale.
Curated by Wava Carpenter, Design Miami/ 2021 ran from 1st to 5th December 2021 at the Miami Beach in Florida and marked the launch of the Official Design Miami/ Mobile App, thus expanding its digital offering. The app offers a curated selection of NFTs for sale. Accepting payments through Coinbase, Design Miami/ is perhaps the first major fair to accept payment in cryptocurrency.
Serving as a companion to Design Miami/ events, the app offers users the ability to engage with the festival virtually. From navigating the show floor, browsing through the festival’s fairs through 3D tours and unlocking exclusive offers to virtually buying the exhibited works with the click of a button, the application ensures that the virtual spectators can enjoy the event just as well as their counterparts who are physically present at the event.
The talk program at the festival also embraced this year’s hybrid format by offering a combination of in-person and digital talks, thus involving designers from around the world. The conversations in these forums were derived from this year’s theme, Humankind, and ranged from the introspection on the current state of events as well as discussions on their corresponding solutions.
One of the talks, titled ‘Design Thinking for Biodiversity: 15 Minutes on Design and Human·Kind, presented by Perrier-Jouët’, involved a conversation between design specialist Wava Carpenter and the designers of mischer’traxler. Discussing the normative relationship between humans and other species, and how their practice subverts this traditional viewpoint, mischer’traxler also talked about their latest project for Perrier-Jouët.
The installations at the festival heavily borrowed from the theme ‘Humankind’ and produced some very interesting pieces that pushed the spectators to introspect on the current state of the world through the alternate lens of the designers and artists. Some New York-based galleries that showcased works of eminent artists and designers include Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Friedman Benda, The Future Perfect and Thomsen Gallery. Their showcases ranged from sculptural furniture and lighting, presented by both Carpenters Workshop Gallery and Friedman Benda to a range of contemporary installations, sculptures and modern furniture, designed by 15 avant-garde artists and presented by The Future Perfect.
A bunch of brands that partnered and presented at the festival include Fendi, Grand Seiko, Maestro Dobel, Perrier Jouet, Kohler, Lexus, Panerai, SCAD, USM, Doha Design District, South Beach, Convelio and Dior. While Fendi showcased a collection of curvaceous furniture by designer Peter Mabeo, SCAD presented mixed-media installations and sculptures by some of their former students. Other impressive showcases included Germane Barnes’ physical installation, presented by Lexus and Dior’s Medallion Chair Exhibition.
The fair concluded with an award ceremony, where the Best in Show award winners were announced. Southern Guild from Cape Town won the Best Gallery Presentation award, ATRA from Mexico City won the Best Curio Presentation award, Wendell Castle Chest of Drawers at R & Company from New York won the Best Historic Work award and Halo by Bradley Bowers at The Future Perfect won the Best Contemporary Work award.