Self-described as a “global forum” specializing in 20th and 21st century museum quality furniture, lighting, and objets d’art, Design Miami now collocates with Art Basel Miami Beach in December and with Art Basel in Switzerland in June. This relationship with one of the world’s premier art fairs—as well as its close ties with the Miami Design District, its birthplace and original home—make Design Miami unique in the world of design fairs.

Now in its 12th iteration, Design Miami has become an established but always on-trend destination for collectors, designers, gallerists, curators, critics, architects, artists and design enthusiasts. Although its dates, November 30 through December 4, 2016 are the same as the myriad art fairs and events of Miami Art Week, Design Miami has typically created strong programming to make the timing of its fair a strategic advantage.

As Tracy Lynn Chemaly, Brand and Communications Director with the Guild Group, exhibiting for the fourth year, noted, “It’s so important to show how design can stand on its own away from all the artwork in the city at the time.”

Just like Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami has retained most of its exhibitors and even added some new ones. The fair organizers claim to have pulled out all the stops in an effort to make the 2016 edition the best show yet. The gallery program has been “refreshed,” the show layout reconfigured, a glass façade added, and there is a new theater space for the always intriguing Design Talks program.

This year’s commissioned entrance to the tented fair is “Flotsam & Jetsam,” designed by New York’s SHoP Architects, the recipient of the Panerai Design Miami/Visionary Award. The piece is the fair’s largest commission to date, using monumental 3D printed structural elements, and it will be placed in the Miami Design District at the close of the fair.

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"Flotsam & Jetsam" by SHoP Architects. Courtesy of Design Miami.

"Flotsam & Jetsam" by SHoP Architects. Courtesy of Design Miami.

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Demonstrating a finger on the pulse of the design world, Design Miami, in collaboration with the United Nations, is launching this year “Building Legacy: Designing for Sustainability.” The focus of this platform for the infrastructure, architecture, and design communities will be building and producing for people’s sustainable futures. To celebrate the initiative, there will be an invitation-only Building Legacy Opening Night Preview on November 29, 2016 from 6 to 8 p.m. and four related talks at the fair.

Many exhibitors will be showing examples of sustainable design, incorporating upcycling, as well as handcraft and indigenous inspiration. At Friedman Benda, Misha Kahn  incorporates grass, sea glass, car parts and even hair extensions in her work. At Mercado Moderno, fairgoers will see designs inspired by indigenous trees. “Hok Chandelier” by Otto Du Plessis at Southern Guild is molded from the vertebrae of an ostrich, while Niek Pulles at Chamber Gallery designs with found objects from the streets of his native Amsterdam.

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Design by Niek Pulles at Chambers Gallery. Courtesy of Design Miami.

Design by Niek Pulles at Chamber Gallery. Courtesy of Chamber Gallery.

Cristina Grajales, who has exhibited at Design Miami since its inception, believes that the attendees are more diverse, especially age-wise, than at other fairs and is excited about the new layout of the fair. Noting that the recent U.S. election has been “a crucial point in our lives, especially with the environment,” Grajales suggested that “We are the guardians of the world.” In keeping with this message, she will be showing Pedro Barrail, whose stools are tattooed by Paraguayan Indians; Gloria Cortina, a Mexican designer working with obsidian, quartz and bronze; and Steven and William Ladd, who work with objects such as recycled buttons and beads.

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"The Bullet" by Gloria Cortina, 2016. Courtesy of Cristina Grajales Gallery & Design Miami.

"The Bullet" by Gloria Cortina, 2016. Courtesy of Cristina Grajales Gallery.

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Echoing the sentiments of Grajales, Adriana Friedman, director of DeLorenzo Gallery, called Design Miami “the perfect venue with its fresh, young collectors … a new generation that connects with the urgency of sustainability.” She “jumped at the opportunity,” she said, to be involved with Design Curio, a new exhibition format in which designers, curators, innovators and gallerists create unique design environments in different locations throughout the fair.

With this new format, DeLorenzo can present the designers Samuel and Dominic Amoia in action, so fairgoers will see “the process of what it is to create their work.” DeLorenzo said she chose the designers for “the purity of their design and form" as well as their connection with nature: the Amoias use natural materials, such as minerals and stones.

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"Console of brass shavings and honed white Italian onyx" by Samuel Amoia. Courtesy of DeLorenzo Gallery.

"Console of brass shavings and honed white Italian onyx" by Samuel Amoia. Courtesy of DeLorenzo Gallery.

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As always there are signs that the fair is on the cutting edge of innovation and technology: Arik Levy’s “Ice” installation for Compac, inspired by frozen Arctic lakes, promises to be stunning. At the same time, Design Miami 2016 also pays tribute to iconic design. Examples include timeless furniture pieces designed by Le Corbusier, Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand at Galerie Patrick Sequin.

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"President no 201 Desk" by Jean Prouve, 1955. Courtesy of Galerie Patrick Sequin.

"President no 201 Desk" by Jean Prouve, 1955. Courtesy of Galerie Patrick Sequin.

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Frank Stella’s jewelry designs (as well as Giorgio Vigna’s new pieces) can be seen at Elisabetta Cipriani. The table by Nakashima that inspired his famous “Altar for Peace” at Columbia University will be shown at Moderne Gallery, and a lamp he designed for his son will be at 1950 Gallery/Alberto Aquilino.

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"Costellazioni" by Giorgio Vigna, 2016. Courtesy of Elisabetta Cipriani.

"Costellazioni" by Giorgio Vigna, 2016. Courtesy of Elisabetta Cipriani.

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Paralleling the Miami Design District’s growing roster of global fashion brands, Design Miami 2016 reflects the increasing intermingling of design and fashion. Fendi is returning to Design Miami with “a refined collection” and Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades will include furniture pieces custom made for the fair. Among other fashionista finds: a limited edition mini-capsule collection developed in collaboration with Maison Kitsuné and sculptural jewelry at Luisa Guinness Gallery of London. CNN Style will be the 2016 fair’s official news outlet.

As always, there will be objets d’art at Design Miami that range from the sublime to what is often referred to as: “the ridiculous, but I really want it.” Examples of these are the elegant stainless steel “Anneaux Armchair” from Jousse Enterprise’s solo exhibition of Maria Pergay, and designer Misha Kahn’s furry, with Keane-size eyes, “The Wild One Cabinet.”

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"The Wild One China Cabinet" by Misha Kahn, 2016. Courtesy of Jousse Enterprise.

"The Wild One China Cabinet" by Misha Kahn, 2016. Courtesy of Jousse Enterprise.

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For its Design Miami collaboration, Perrier-Jouët commissioned American artist Andrew Kudless to create “Strand Garden.” A modern day Renaissance man, Kudless explores the relationships between architecture, engineering, biology and computation. In that respect, he embodies Design Miami 2016, a celebration of the interconnectedness of ideas, influences, and disciplines in both form and function.

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Copyright 2016 Hamptons Art Hub LLC. All rights reserved.

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