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Design Miami/ returns to Pride Park with curio exhibitions
Image: All image courtesy Design Miami/

Design Miami/ returns to Pride Park with curio exhibitions

Newly appointed curatorial director, Wava Carpenter programmed the 17th edition of the fair which will explore the theme of 'Human Kind' and how design can impact the world for the better

by Nitija Immanuel
Published on : Nov 05, 2021

Design Miami/ will soon present the 17th edition of its fair in Miami Beach from December 1 - 5, 2021. Taking place in Pride Park, opposite the Miami Beach Convention Center, the fair will feature over 35 gallery and Curio exhibitions to be presented alongside an exciting lineup of partnerships and collaborations. In addition, Design Miami/ will be presented in a hybrid physical and digital format. "As we continue to see the collectible design market grow, in both physical and digital spaces, we’re pleased to also welcome many new members to the Design Miami/ family - galleries, curios and partners - all of which are bringing thoughtful contributions to the fair," shares Jennifer Roberts, CEO of Design Miami/

This year’s programming, the first curated by incoming Curatorial Director, Wava Carpenter, will explore the theme of Human Kind, shining the spotlight on design-led visions for a more equitable and interconnected future. "The practice of design, at its heart, has always aimed to create a better future. The future that designers envision increasingly demands a fundamental reorientation of what it means to be human in this world, calling on all of us to become better stewards of nature and of each other," says Wava Carpenter, >Design Miami/’s incoming curatorial director.

Miami Design District Annual Design Commission Tomorrow Land by Studio Proba

Aesthetics Of The Moment: The Fantastical & The Primordial

Perhaps as an escape from the realities of the world as it is now, designers and collectors are drawn to truly extraordinary forms that evoke another time and place. This larger trend finds two expressions: the fantastical and the primordial. The former aesthetic is exuberant, vibrant, surreal as if created for a fairy tale or science fiction story, often inflected with a tongue-in-cheek wink. The second expression has a minimalist yet striking aura that calls to mind relics of the ancient past, prehistory and beyond time.

Extraño 1, 2021 by Tanya Aguiñiga at Volume Gallery, courtesy of Volume Gallery

The Miami Design District has named creative studios, Studio Proba and Enjoy The Weather, this year’s winners of its highly anticipated 2021 Annual Design Commission. Curated by Wava Carpenter and Anna Carnick of Anava Projects and Design Miami/, this year’s installation, titled Tomorrow Land will transform the neighbourhood - as well as the entrance to Design Miami/—into an interactive playground through a series of joyful sculptures, seating, and ornamentation designed by Studio Proba.

Umthwalo uMamvulane, 2021 by Zizipho Poswa at Southern Guild, courtesy of Christof van der Walt and Souther

Material of the Moment: Ceramics

Through their direct, hands-on and hands-in nature of production, ceramic works are an ideal medium for storytelling, especially autobiographical and sociological stories, which resonate deeply with audiences in this time of disruption and separation. It seems that, more than ever, ceramics artists are working with clay in new ways to share perspectives on and insights into who they are, where they came from, and where they want to see the world go. This has resulted in a thriving market for ceramics, and this year’s fair presents a strong representation of both contemporary and historical ceramics. Southern Guild, Friedman Benda, Mindy Solomon, Moderne Gallery and Hostler Burrows will showcase exquisite ceramic installations.

Karuizawa chair, 1935 by George Nakashima at Moderne Gallery. Image courtesy Moderne Gallery and George Nakas

The Best of the Best

As always, Design Miami will host galleries representing work that tops today’s collectible design market, both vintage and contemporary. Masterpieces from icons of the 20th century include works by Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Joaquim Tenreiro, and Verner Panton, while contemporary highlights are found in works by Daniel Arsham, Katie Stout, the Haas Brothers, and more. Moderne Gallery presents a strong selection of rare and unique mid-century designs, with a focus on Studio Craft Movement pieces. At Friedman Benda, the gallery will present a solo booth of work by artist and creative director Samuel Ross, celebrating the launch of the gallery's partnership with the acclaimed British designer.

'The Bedroom', 2021 by Harry Nuriev at harrynuriev, courtesy of Crosby Studios

Design Miami/ 2021 Curios

Curio is an exhibition platform that invites designers, architects, curators, innovators and gallerists to present total environments of objects, textures, artefacts and ideas that challenge and contextualize familiar design narratives. Curios are interspersed amongst Design Miami’s gallery program, infusing the fair with inventive snapshots of today's design landscape. The 2021 Miami fair presents a diverse range of 19 curios that question and respond to the theme of Human Kind, including 13 fresh faces this including Apical Reform & ZEEL Studio, Bea Interiors Design, Bohinc Studio, James de Wulf, Objective Gallery, PELLE, Tuleste Factory, Twenty First Gallery and Verdi.

Emotional Rocks, 2021 by Apical Reform Studio at Apical Reform & Zeel Studio, courtesy of Apical Reform Studi

Non-profit organization and platform, House Of Today returns to Miami after their debut Curio presentation in 2017, this year showcasing a solo exhibition of work by Lebanese designer Khaled El-Mays. This new series of work has been made in collaboration with craftspeople in Mexico City and is a continuation of the long relationship between El-Mays and House of Today, founded by Cherine Magrabi Tayeb.

NN Bar Cabinet, 2021 by Khaled El Mays at House of Today, courtesy of House of Today and Khaled El Mays

Amongst this year’s debut Curio presentations, highlights include first-time exhibitors Apical Reform & ZEEL Studio - a collaboration between designers Amrish Patel, Darshan Soni, and Gordana Zgonjanin that brings Apical Reform’s innovative work that encompasses functional, bespoke and kinetic art - presented by Miami based ZEEL studio.

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