Where We Stand: Reflections on Place, Purpose, & Community, was the cohesive theme that held sway in Miami Beach, Florida, from December 6 to 10, 2023. Setting tone for Design Miami/ 2023, the curatorial theme became the reference point for the creatives partaking in the bustling design fair. Artists and designers hailing from regions across the world joined forces to lay bare the capacity of design in regards to storytelling, and consequently, fostering connection. Diverse points of view juxtaposed, intersected and collided desultorily, yet, culminated into a tapestry that spoke of harmony. Channelled through a spectrum of media—design exhibitions, workshops, talks, striking installations—the expressions drew the audience into a potpourri of experiences.
Amidst the kaleidoscopic presentations that unfolded at the design event, installations stood out with their unique charisma; from a beach maze to giant tree of hoops, STIR enlists design installations that turned heads and grabbed eyeballs at Design Miami/ 2023.
HOOPS Tree by CJ Hendry
The Magic City and its love of basketball is a tale the world is well-acquainted with; this love affair became muse for New York-based contemporary artist CJ Hendry’s HOOPS Tree. Unveiled during Design Miami/, the basketball tree public art installation calls out to the fabric of the city of Miami. The HOOPS Tree, located in the Wynwood art district, is a rich blue silhouette that stands at a towering 20 feet with 34 hoops reminiscent of chandeliers hanging from the sky. "It's been a focus to try my hand at public art,” says Hendry. Designing HOOPS Tree has been interesting because its scale is enormous and it's so much heavier than I anticipated. Having an artwork that will live on in a public space indefinitely is a real honour and I am so excited to see it come to life," she adds.
MAZE: Journey Through the Algorithmic Self by Sebastian Errazuriz
This colossal sand maze by Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz stood as the largest labyrinth ever witnessed at Miami Art Basel. One of the design week’s most prominent art fairs, Faena Art, collaborated with Chase Sapphire to present MAZE: Journey Through the Algorithmic Self by Errazuriz. The monumental public artwork, with its walls clothed in sand, was designed using artificial intelligence (Midjourney and DALL·E 2). Located in Miami Beach, the maze invites visitors to explore its intricate pathways while they contemplate the growing identity of artificial intelligence in contemporary society. Errazuriz, born in Chile and based in New York, breathed life into a unique experience that meshes technology with tradition, incorporating QR codes and a digital book titled ‘AI MAZE’ to enhance the experience of those venturing into the maze. Alan Faena, founder of Faena Art, expressed enthusiasm for this ambitious exhibition saying, "We are delighted to present 'Spaces of Influence: Shaping Community in the Modern World' at Miami Art Week. Sebastian Errazuriz's innovative work, examining technology, design, and community, reflects Faena Art's commitment to supporting today's foremost creative minds."
A Subtle Alchemy by Dan Lam
This iridescent sculptural organism by Dan Lam appears to breathe and glow of its own volition, drawing the viewers to take a closer look. Titled A Subtle Alchemy, the installation was unveiled at the Wynwood Walls art experience, The Power of Purpose. The sculpture, now 8.5 feet tall, is a scaled-up version of the original miniature measuring merely two inches. Made using styrofoam, and epoxy, the sculpture is the Texas-based artist’s first piece to be painted with automotive paint and finished with a chameleon pigment, so that the colour shifts and moves with viewing angles. “When I first started working on A Subtle Alchemy, it was a personal challenge to take on a piece so large and experiment with new materials and paints. I wanted it to be fully immersive so that the viewer could walk beneath it to really feel the piece and to be a part of it,” shares Lam.
The Pollination Dance by Fernando Laposse
Maison Perrier-Jouët staged The Pollination Dance conceived by Mexican artist and designer Fernando Laposse, at Design Miami/. The organic and botanical installation took cues from the observation of nature and the collaboration between species which celebrate life. Every year, the House commissions an artist or designer to reimagine its Art Nouveau heritage for the contemporary time, this time, with the immersive installation by Laposse. “Freely inspired by nature, he combines savoir-faire derived from traditional cultures with cutting-edge contemporary techniques. His work speaks to us through its beauty and poetry, at the same time as it reveals a deeper meaning,” says Axelle de Buffévent, Maison Perrier-Jouët Culture and Creative Director.
Utopia by Bohinc Studio
Utopia by Studio Bohinc, comprising four installations, featured irregular, globular forms evocative of cellular organisms. The dynamic sculptures brought to mind living objects sprouting across the district in intriguing bodies. With the installation, Lara Bohinc envisioned a city where nature and humans thrive in harmony. The peculiar creatures included ergonomic objects for rest and reflection as well as an egg-shaped sculpture and small egg forms interspersed throughout the trees—providing refuge for birdlife. At night, the solar-powered sculptures emanate an inviting glow. Painted by hand in vibrant hues, the four installations inject playfulness, functionality and comfort into the outdoors, animating the public spaces while engaging the native trees and architecture to foster discourses on sustainability and environmentalism. Read more about the installation here